ROGERS PARK — Chicago Public Schools did not include a proposal to merge Eugene Field and New Field Elementary schools in its plans for 2017, the district told the Reunite The Fields group last week.
"We are disappointed that on December 1, CPS announced their proposed School Actions and declined to include our proposed merger," the group said in a statement. "However, we also see this as an opportunity to re-engage with all stakeholders from our school communities on the best way to strengthen K-8 for our attendance area."
The proposed idea was for Eugene Field and New Field to each stay in their respective buildings but share one umbrella administration, effectively becoming a K-8 school.
In late October, members of the group appeared before the Chicago Board of Education to plead their case and formally request CPS take up the administrative merger.
Reunite The Fields — a group with more than 300 members of parents from both New Field Elementary, 1707 W. Morse Ave., and Eugene Field Elementary, 7019 N. Ashland Blvd. — was formed earlier this year in response to a proposal by Ald. Joe Moore (49th) to close Eugene Field and then allow Decatur Classical School from West Ridge to move into its building.
Moore's idea was to have students from Eugene Field, which lost its fourth-grade class to New Field in a surprise move by CPS in June, folded into nearby Kilmer Elementary School.
That plan was nixed in October when CPS school ratings showed Eugene Field had been given the second highest rating, while Kilmer received the third highest rating.
For now, all four schools — Eugene Field, New Field, Kilmer and Decatur — will continue on as is, though Reunite the Fields said it will still push for a K-8 school in the neighborhood and hopes to gain the support of CPS and local officials.
"We will continue to advocate for the children in our attendance area, who deserve a high quality K-8 education," the group said. "Our schools need a model or plan that will support efficient utilization of both facilities, improved financial responsibility, and broad parent-stakeholder engagement."
"We are encouraged that the proposal to merge Eugene Field with Kilmer ... is temporarily on hold, but we believe that our elementary schools remain vulnerable to adverse School Actions as long as they experience under-enrollment."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.