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Ames Middle School supporters are asking the Chicago Board of Education to halt any further action to give the school to a military school pending the results of an advisory referendum March 18.

Press conference will take place February 26, 9:45 am, 1st floor of CPS, 125 S. Clark, Chicago, in the hallway.

Supporters include neighborhood elected officials who are joining with the SAVE AMES Committee including parents, students, LSC members and community residents to ask CPS Board members Wednesday to “take no action and particularly sign no contracts that would bind CPS to convert Ames to a military school until after the March 18 primary.” 

The Ames advisory referendum is on the March 18th ballot in 8 precincts surrounding Ames – 4 in the 26th Ward, 3 in the 35th, and 1 in the 1st.  The referendum reads, “Should Ames Middle School (1920 N Hamlin Ave) be maintained as a neighborhood school, rather than being converted into a Military High School?”  Ames supporters are urging residents to vote YES.

Elected officials from the Ames community -- State Senator William Delgado, County Commissioner Edwin Reyes and 1st ward alderman Joe Moreno have sent letters asking the Board to listen to the will of the voters. 

In his letter Alderman Joe Moreno says, “I have not been contacted by the Board regarding Ames, although several constituents within Ames’ attendance boundaries live in my ward.  This school conversion was initiated by the 26th Ward Alderman without any advance consultation with parents, teachers, students or local residents.  The conversation of Ames should not be the prerogative of a single alderman, but rather a community-based decision which is respected by the Board—an independent, appointive body.”

The Board voted Dec. 18 to convert Ames into a 7-12 grade marine  military high school, although 95% of 800 parents voted to keep Ames a neighborhood middle school and more than 2,400 area residents signed in support of Ames as a neighborhood school.

SAVE AMES believes that the Chicago Board of Education did not fully understand that the community stands behind the Ames Community School and will prove this through the results of the March 18 referendum.  If the referendum passes, the Save Ames Committee will again approach the Board in late March to ask that it reconsider its vote.

The referendum is one of only 3 on the March 18 ballot in Chicago.

Residents are also concerned about Alderman Maldonado’s plan to spend $7 million in TIF money (tax dollars) on a school that is only 16 years old, when surrounding schools face declining budgets and postponed maintenance.

There are 50 shuttered schools in Chicago, some of which could accommodate a military high school with no disruption to the community and are in the same general area.

Instead of sending neighborhood 7th and 8th graders to Ames, a vibrant middle school, which keeps 7th and 8th graders engaged in part through over 15 programs provided by LSNA as supplements to the school day, the CPS plan is to send area 7th and 8th graders to Kelvyn Park High School.

Media Alert 02/26/14

Keywords: Ames. Ames Middle School, community school, Logan Square, lsna, Maldonado, Marine, Marine Military, primary, vote

Posted in Youth, Education, LSNA in the Media, Press Releases