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After Parents Stage Sit-In, CPS Drops Plan To Co-Locate West Side Schools

By Joe Ward | January 28, 2016 7:46pm
 CPS plans to house Spry high school students at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, 2850 W. 24th Blvd.
CPS plans to house Spry high school students at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, 2850 W. 24th Blvd.
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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials have suspended a controversial plan to house high school classes in a Little Village building that already holds two elementary schools.

CPS said on Thursday that it will not move forward with its plan to "co-locate" John Spry high school students into Maria Saucedo Academy, 2850 W. 24th Blvd., which already shares its building with Telpochcalli Elementary.

The proposal, part of a CPS plan to close or consolidate six schools for the 2015-2016 school year, was intended to save CPS some precious budget funds while also putting students into a better educational environment.

That's because John Spry Community Links school houses some of its three-year high school students in the Little Village Boys & Girls Club. Moving the high schoolers into Saucedo would save the district about $95,000 a year, according to teachers and parents.


But after a series of community meetings where residents expressed outrage over the idea — including the staging of a sit-in at Saucedo to demonstrate their anger — CPS said it will take more time to consider community needs before moving forward with a plan.

"The Chicago Board of Education has heard your concerns and has decided that more information is needed before a final decision can be made," CPS Network 7 Chief Minerva Garcia-Sanchez said in a letter to Little Village families.

Parents said at the community meetings that further crowding of the building will impact education at one of the area's lone Level 1-plus schools, the highest designation in the district.

Teachers and parents worried about the fate of the art room, library and computer rooms should a high school come in and need to take up to 10 classrooms in the building.

"There's just simply not enough room to offer ... a quality education while housing a high school," Saucedo teacher Ashley Reyes said at the Jan. 20 community meeting where the sit-in was staged.

The city's Board of Education was to vote on the Saucedo and other co-location proposals at its February meeting. But a CPS official told parents at a Tuesday meeting of the board that the Saucedo plan would be scrapped for now, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Garcia-Sanchez said CPS will continue to look at ways to operate with fewer funds while maintaining the quality of education at Spry, Saucedo and elsewhere.

"We are committed to finding an agreeable solution that will make sense for the district while meeting the needs of all students and their families," Garcia-Sanchez said in the letter.

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