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Norwood Park Elementary Principal Resigns, Joining CPS Exodus

 Norwood Park Principal Renne Blahuta (r.) presents teacher Maureen Schaedel with an award in 2014.
Norwood Park Principal Renne Blahuta (r.) presents teacher Maureen Schaedel with an award in 2014.
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Norwood Park Elementary School

NORWOOD PARK — Norwood Park Elementary School Principal Renee Blahuta joined the more than 50 CPS leaders who have resigned or retired in 2016.

Blahuta told parents she accepted a position at the Kellogg Foundation, an education philanthropy, in an email to parents.

Blahuta became principal of the school at 5900 N. Nina Ave. in 2011.

"It has been a great honor to work with your children, you, and the faculty and staff," Blahuta wrote to parents.

Neither Blahuta nor Local School Council chairman Jim Murphy returned repeated phone and email messages about the principal's departure.

The school is among the best in the city, having achieved CPS' top academic rating. CPS says schools with the rating are "nationally competitive schools" that can help struggling institutions implement "best practices."

Whoever is selected as Norwood Park Elementary's next leader will have to cope with the "financial tsunami" engulfing CPS.

Officials have warned principals to expect budget cuts of about 26 percent as city leaders continue to push state lawmakers to change the way schools are funded and close CPS' $1 billion budget deficit.

Norwood Park Elementary's local school council is responsible for hiring a new principal, although CPS will appoint an interim leader for the 2016-17 school year, Blahuta told parents.

CPS officials have blamed inequitable state education funding under Gov. Bruce Rauner for placing the district at "a competitive disadvantage for retaining our best principals and teachers."

But representatives of the Chicago Teachers Union said the spate of retirements was also due to mismanagement of the district by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointed school board.

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