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CPS: More Than Two-Thirds of Humboldt Park Schools Are 'Underutilized'

By Victoria Johnson | December 6, 2012 1:59pm
 Entrance to Ana Roqué de Duprey Elementary School.
Entrance to Ana Roqué de Duprey Elementary School.
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HUMBOLDT PARK — Anywhere from two-thirds to three quarters of Humboldt Park's schools are "underutilized," according to data released Tuesday by Chicago Public Schools, a stark reminder of the threat of city-wide school closures.

Enrollment below 80 percent of "Ideal Enrollment," as defined by CPS, is considered underutilized, while schools with enrollment of more than 120 percent of the ideal number are deemed overcrowded. CPS is mulling the possibility of shuttering underutilized schools.

According to the CPS, more than two-thirds of schools in Humboldt Park are underutilized, while only a quarter are operating at an "efficient" level. One Humboldt Park School, the Erie Elementary Charter School, is considered overcrowded, with an enrollment of more than double the ideal number, according to the data.

The numbers are bleaker still in the Garfield Park-West Humboldt area, where more than three quarters of schools are deemed to be underutilized. This area, encompassing the neighborhoods of West Humboldt Park and Garfield Park, lists 28 of 36 schools in the "underutilized" category. Two are overcrowded, and six are considered efficient.

The most underutilized Humboldt Park school, according to CPS, is Ana Roqué de Duprey Elementary School, 2620 W. Hirsch St., which CPS lists as having just 92 students - with a capacity of 330.

Despite the uncertain future of underutlized scools, Duprey parents say they're glad their children aren't lost in overcrowded classrooms.

"I feel great about that," said Duprey parent Angel Flores. "There's more time for each student. If you stick 30 or 40 students into a classroom, they're not going to get half the attention they need."

His daughters, 10 and 11, transferred to Duprey this year from Agustin Lara Elementary School on the South Side, where they used to live. He said 32 or 33 students were assigned to each classroom there, which he thinks is too many. Lara Elementary, according to CPS, is in the "efficient" range at 91 percent capacity.

Though Flores' daughters just started at Duprey, he said they are happy there.

"They like it, and they do get the attention they need," he said.

Duprey Elementary was designed to be small. It is officially designated as a "small" school, which for elementary schools means fewer than 350 students. According to the CPS website, small schools are meant to "foster environments in which parents, teachers, and students get to know one another well."

Mariana Miller, said she, too, is happy for that. Her 5-year-old daughter, Mia, attends Duprey and has Asperger syndrome.

"I like that [the school is small]," she said. "I love that my daughter gets individualized attention."