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Logan Square Neighborhood Assoc to Launch Council to Prevent Closed-Door Decisions at the Board of Ed

For Immediate Release:
FRIDAY, MAY 18 at 10:30 a.m.

CONTACT: Bridget Murphy (773) 384-4370 ext. 41; (520) 429-1544 (cell); or bmurphy@lsna.net
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Logan Square Parents: “Ames Belongs to the Community”


Logan Square Neighborhood Assoc to Launch Council to Prevent Closed-Door Decisions at the Board of Ed

“This is our community, and we need to be part of decisions here,” explains Maria Trejo, director of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) Elev8 program at Ames Middle School. “You don’t come into a house and start rearranging the furniture without asking permission.”

In just two weeks, LSNA has built a groundswell of support for the LSSFC. The local school councils at Ames and surrounding schools have voted to endorse the facilities council. 1,000 community members have signed in support. At LSNA’s 50th Congress on May 15, Philip Hampton, director of Family and Community Engagement for CPS, pledged to support the LSSFC. (Photo attached.)On Friday, May 18th at 10:30 a.m. at Ames Middle School, 1920 N. Hamlin Ave., LSNA—with over 100 parent leaders from across the neighborhood—will launch the Logan Square School Facilities Council (LSSFC).  The LSSFC will create a fair community process to determine the best educational use of available space at Ames Middle School. The LSSFC can prevent closed-door decisions on school actions in the neighborhood.

LSNA is establishing the LSSFC in response to a recent Board of Education decision to remove students from Ames. Parents, teachers, and community members are concerned that enrollment at Ames will drop and are suspicious that the Board of Ed made the decision to make way for a closing or co-location.

Currently three elementary schools feed into Ames (Mozart, McAuliffe and Nixon), but starting next year Mozart Elementary will keep its 7th graders, and 8th graders the following year. This decision was made behind closed doors. Neither the local principals nor the network chief were aware of the decision until it was a done deal.

Mozart is currently at capacity, while Ames is under capacity, begging the question of why students will be moved from Ames to Mozart.

“As a parent and community member that has invested many hours of community service and dedication to Ames Middle School, I ask why are decisions being made without our input?” said Ames Middle School parent Juliet Maldonado. “We are not willing to be shut out and let outsiders make decisions that really should be community decisions.”

According to CPS’ website, the Board of Education held a public meeting March 12 regarding this decision, but LSNA staff have not encountered a single person aware of this public meeting. LSNA has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for minutes from the March 12 meeting.

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LSNA has a very strong history at Ames. The school was built as a result of an LSNA school overcrowding campaign in the mid-1990's. LSNA runs comprehensive academic and social-emotional support programs at Ames. Services include a community-serving health clinic inside the building.

Academically, Ames is not at risk for turnaround or closing. Test scores have risen and suspensions have dropped dramatically over the past couple years.

The uncertainty about the future of Ames is rippling out to its neighboring elementary feeder schools. Bertha Medrano, the Local School Council chair at McAuliffe Elementary School said, “My son Andrew is in 6th grade, he is getting ready to end the school year and his plans are to attend Ames Middle School.  Now, there is a road block, his future is undecided because we don’t know what CPS has in store for him.  Andrew should not have to worry about the only middle school in his community being taken away. As the mother of Andrew, I can’t find words to express my concern about this issue.”

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Keywords: Ames, Education, Logan Square, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, LSSFC, school closings

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