Chicago Public Schools today published a list of 129 schools that are under consideration for closure. Four schools in the Ravenswood/ Ridge Network remain on the list, despite community opposition.
The four schools are:
- Brennemann; 4251 N Clarendon
- Stewart; 4525 N Kenmore
- Trumbull; 5200 N Ashland
- Stockton; 4420 N Beacon
Initial discussions had focused on 15 schools in the neighborhood network which CPS said were under utilized. School and neighborhood activists disputed the method for determining whether a CPS facility was being used. The dispute led to spirited public meetings.
CPS said it used input from the community at one of 15 meetings held throughout the city. Safety and security concerns were heavily weighted a CPS news release today said.
CPS removed all high schools from the list. CPS also issued a list of criteria. A school meeting any of the criteria were removed from the list:
- High schools
- High performing, Level 1 schools
- Schools in the process of adding grades that are expected to reach efficient utilization based on enrollment trends
- Schools with greater than 600 students enrolled on 20th day of SY2012-13
- Schools with a utilization rate of at least 70% in SY2012-13
- Schools that have recently experienced a significant school action. This is defined as schools that have been a designated welcoming school in the last 3 years or were part of a co-location approved last year that went into effect this year
- Schools that are “on the rise” – defined as meeting one or both of the following:
- A. Level 2 schools that have gained enrollment over the last 3 years OR
- B. Any schools that are “sustainable and improving performance”. These schools meet ALL of the following:
- Greater than or equal to 300 students enrolled 20th day SY2012-13
- Same or higher performance level for SY2011-12 as SY2010-11
- ISAT composite meets / exceeds trend value that indicates increase in student proficiency
- Students are performing at or above their peers in reading or math for each of the last 3 years
- Schools that are isolated from nearby neighborhood elementary schools
- Schools that are surrounded by schools that are at or near capacity and do not have space to welcome students
CPS released materials that indicate there are 41,202 students enrolled in the 54 schools of the Ravenswood/ Ridge Network. 28,955 students attend 43 CPS elementary schools in the R/RN area, CPS materials indicate. CPS says an ideal capacity would be 31,860 students.
The same materials claim CPS operated elementary schools enroll 27,535 students, charter schools 907 students in the network. That totals 28,442 students. It is not clear why there is a difference between the figures.
Six R/RN schools are forecast to require more than $20 million each to maintain and update the facilities. CPS claims these updates include deferred maintenance, adding air conditioning to meet the needs of the longer school year, lab improvements, play lots and projects that would allow the buildings to meet ADA requirements.
In total, CPS claims, $662 million will be needed to update the all the buildings in the network.
A report, released by the Pew Charitable Trust indicated expected savings of more than $1 million per building, often forecast by central school offices, are rarely achieved due to continued maintenance and security for the building. The Pew study of 12 school districts, including Chicago, found that since 2005 the school districts often ended up with properties that could not be sold, deteriorated and depressed the real estate value of the associated neighborhood.