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Downtown, South Loop Find Few Schools at 'Efficient' Enrollment

By Ted Cox | January 6, 2016 4:09pm
 Dunbar High School
Dunbar High School
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

DOWNTOWN — According to data released this week by Chicago Public Schools, schools in the Downtown and South Loop area tend to be too empty or too full, with few just right.

CPS released its school-utilization report this week, finding that more than 300 schools citywide are considered "underutilized."

Several of those were in the South Loop area in ZIP code 60616. Among the prime examples were Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, 3000 S. King Drive, which with a 20th-day attendance of 763 spread over 84 classrooms was projected at 38 percent of ideal capacity, while Drake Elementary, 2710 S. Dearborn St., was at 34 percent, with attendance of 419.

Yet the distinctions were sometimes arbitrary. James Ward Elementary, 2710 S. Shields Ave., in what would technically be Bridgeport, was considered "efficient" with an attendance of 552 at 80 percent of ideal capacity. But National Teacher's Academy, an Academy for Urban School Leadership operation at 55 W. Cermak Road, was labeled underutilized at 77 percent of ideal capacity, with attendance of 649.

 The recently expanded Jones College Prep is one of the few schools in the Dowtown-South Loop area considered to be at
The recently expanded Jones College Prep is one of the few schools in the Dowtown-South Loop area considered to be at "efficient" enrollment.
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

Also considered underutilized were Pershing, 3200 S. Calumet Ave., with attendance of 549 at 61 percent of capacity, and Doolittle, 535 W. 35th St. in what's technically Bronzeville, with attendance of 307 at 60 percent of capacity.

Those closer to Downtown in the 60605 ZIP code were at or above capacity, however, reflecting how Bob Fioretti, the former alderman of the since-displaced 2nd Ward, maintained that with families moving into the area more schools were needed.

Jones College Prep, one of the most prestigious of CPS' selective-enrollment high schools, at 700 S. State St., came in at 87 percent of ideal capacity, with its recently expanded attendance of 1,670. South Loop Elementary, meanwhile, at 1212 S. Plymouth Court, was considered overcrowded with attendance of 868, more than 25 percent above its ideal capacity.

Farther south, Graham Training Center High School, 2437 S. Wabash Ave., had an attendance of 132 squeezed into eight classrooms, more than 50 percent above its ideal capacity, while Healy Elementary, again over in Bridgeport at 3010 S. Parnell St., was more than a quarter again above its ideal capacity with an attendance of 1,453.

Joining Jones as rated "efficient" in the 60616 ZIP were Haines Elementary, 247 W. 23rd Place, at 96 percent of ideal capacity, and Sheridan Math & Science Academy, 533 W. 27th St., at 116 percent of ideal capacity.

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