Overwhelming Majority of Underutilized Schools on South and West Sides
CHICAGO — The overwhelming majority of underutilized schools, which face closure, consolidation or other action, are on the South and West Sides of the city, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by new schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
The South Side has 165 underutilized schools and West Side has 109, accounting for 86 percent of the citywide total of 330.
The Southwest and North Sides have more overcrowded schools than underutilized facilities, with 38 schools operating above capacity on the North Side and 25 schools overcrowded on the Southwest Side.
Over-enrollment is also a problem at 80 schools citywide. Of those, 38 are on the North Side and 25 are on the Southwest Side.
Only 135 of the 681 elementary and high achools in Chicago — about 20 percent — have the proper level of enrollment, according to the report.
According to CPS, there are about 403,500 students enrolled this year, and the school system has space for 500,000. District officials say this is evidence that students and resources need to be reallocated.
Included with their data release was a report on population changes for city residents aged 0-19.
Between 2000 and 2010, census data saw that population decrease by roughly 145,000, with decreases especially concentrated on the city's Near West and Near South Sides.
Meanwhile, sections of the North Side, and some pockets of the Southwest Side, have seen growth in that same age range.