Lincoln Elementary’s new annex met with neighborhood opposition (and that’s a nice way of putting it)

November 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm 262 comments


Lincoln Elem school – still contentious now that the non-school people in the neighborhood are mad.  Take a look…

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262 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LPDad  |  November 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I already posted below (I just missed this new subject heading by minutes).

    OK, I live on a block adjacent to the school. I genuinely don’t understand why so many neighborhood people are opposed to Lincoln using its OWN space to relieve overcrowding (which is real –kids have to inhale lunch in minutes to accommodate the the next groups in the too-tiny cafeteria, old closets are where special ed teachers work, the low-ceiling basement [never intended for anything other than utilities and storage] has been rigged into class space, the ‘art class room’, etc).

    There are already over 800 students, how is the addition going to create so much more traffic and congestion? It’s just going to relieve the overcrowding.

    Of course, the anti-new addition crowd just think Lincoln’s boundary should just shrink and people that planned their entire life and made their largest investment (their home) dependent on their kids being able to attend (miracle of miracles) their local excellent CPS public school, should just have to deal in order to keep things small and overcrowded They don’t seem to understand how upside down this would make peoples’ lives –people that stayed in Chicago instead of Wilmette or Oak Brook so that their kids could get an excellent education in an otherwise very hit-or-miss school system. Talk about making people with options gun-shy –who would ever take a chance with CPS and their neighborhood school if things can just change when a school becomes “good?” Why invest in a neighborhood CPS school if that investment can go down the toilet at the whim of whoever (shrill neighbors that don’t want an addition, etc.)?

    I could go on forever.

    I’ve had people knocking on my door, trying to explain why it’s a bad idea, trying to get me on their side, etc., but they never seem to have a good reason, IMHO, other than “we want things to never change and want things to be like before”. Well, that ship has sailed. Things already have changed, more people are staying in the neighborhood with kids, more Chicago parents are using CPS, etc., –isn’t this all a good thing? I guess not, according to some.

    Who knew the 1970s and 1980s (when people were afraid to let their kids go west of Halstead for fear of public safety and 99% of middle-class people with kids went private or moved to the suburbs) were the Good Ol’ Days?

    It’s so hard, because the loudest people that act like this new addition is the worst thing ever to happen in the history of Chicago are also my neighbors (none of whom have school-age kids, BTW). One anti-annex person (people familiar with this situation will know who she is) seems to have genuinely gone kinda’ crazy –I’m afraid to see her, although she’s my neighbor. . She’s calmly explained to Lincoln’s principal last night that she’ll lay down in front of a bulldozer to prevent the new construction (I heard her say so). Again, this is about the much-needed addition to a public school on its own space, funded without local taxes, how is her world going to end over this?

    God, get a life!

    Man, talk about “White Peoples Problems.” I guess it really would be the end of the world if the already highly regarded public elementary school (that was there when you bought your house) nearby was so successful that it needed to add space on its own lot to accommodate the increased demand from middle-class families staying in the neighborhood (and Chicago) and using CPS. Gee, why would Chicago want to keep those kinds of families in the city?

    Would they rather people just give up (a la 1970s) and move to the suburbs? How would that be good for the neighborhood? Or Chicago?

    yadda, yadda, yadda…….

  • 2. HSObsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for that insight, LPDad, good to know all that. There will always be people who are opposed to any change at all, but like you pointed out, this is just physically accommodating children who already attend the school! They should be happy that they have an incredibly sought-after school very close to them, which can only help their property values when they choose to sell or their heirs sell for them. What everyone should work toward (principal, parents, alderman, neighbors) is to make very, very safe routes for kids to walk and bike to school, to minimize/eliminate the already relatively low congestion caused by buses and cars at pick up and drop off. This is a neighborhood school, with 95% of the kids enrolled living within 3/4 mile. From the video and what I understand, the handful of vocal opponents are seniors who live within a block or two or three. They are far, far outnumbered by the residents all over the 43rd ward who are very pleased with this compromise solution.

  • 3. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Asked in a deposition for the lawsuit why CPS officials didn’t consider redrawing attendance boundaries so some students in overcrowded schools would be sent to Manierre, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said “a reason why not is because it is highly disruptive to relocate people from their existing school to another school.”

    The attorney then points out that most of the students in closing schools were black and asks Cawley whether CPS officials were more concerned about disruption involving white students. Cawley says that is “patently false.”

  • 4. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    @3 – there is already a whole area surrounding Manierre that does not use the school. You want to expand that area? The school services the low income housing across the street solely. Even the kids in the housing development try to get into other schools first. They couldn’t even close the under enrolled school because of conflicting gang action. I don’t think anyone should have to send their kids there. Convenient that some try to put a racist tag on the situation. Of course from what i read on this site, looks like the same situations all over the city of Chicago.

  • 5. I've got and Idea!  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    The old Childrens Memorial Hospital could be replaced with a awesome new school. Just use the TIFF dollars for THAT.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I think the “whole new building” approach was rejected for cost. And other schools would be mad and Rahm would be lambasted for catering to the rich people.

    I think the building-up annex is the compromise there.

    Alcott seemed like the obvious solution to me, but it’s fairly far from part of the lincoln neighborhoods, it think,
    Actually I thought the LaSalle idea was good. Now they could relocate it to Trumbull. But nobody likes change.

    Manierre doesn’t make sense, same reason the school was not closed when it should have been. It’s a low performing anomaly.

    Alternatively, I’d like to see the developers charged up the wazoo for getting to put even more school aged kids into a crowded area. Same with coonley. Giant houses are still going up like mad around the school. Good deal for developers.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 7. HSObsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    The Lincoln catchment area is HUGE by CPS standards because two of the schools that physically sit within it (LaSalle and Newberry) were converted from neighborhood schools to magnet schools in the 1980s (and there was no neighborhood set aside for many, many years). During this process of deciding what to do about Lincoln’s overcrowding, the idea was floated of de-magnetizing LaSalle and reverting it back to our neighborhood school (I live nearby). I would have been fine with that, or with moving LaSalle magnet school to a different facility (with its principal, teachers, students, funding) nearby, but the LaSalle community immediately fought back hard. Then the idea was floated to do some sort of changed boundaries with Alcott, and that met much resistance as well (and would have been strange to carry out, given that they’re only 3 blocks apart, so potentially kids living next to Lincoln would be districted to attend Alcott). No one ever seriously turned to Newberry, but that community prophylactically expressed their desire not to change. I think at some point they decided that looking at changing other schools just wasn’t the solution.

  • 8. tired of it  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    @3 Screw ’em. They can bitch after buying a house & paying thousands in property taxes. They can also have their kids get dinged on SE tests for living in a stable environment in Tier 3 & Tier 4 where parents aren’t on handouts. No way I want my kids going to school where the current student body can’t read at grade-level … and my children come from a mixed-race family!

  • 9. LPDad  |  November 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm


    Manierre’s just a God-awful school, on every level (public safety, achievement…). Period –that’s the reason people don’t want their kids going there.

    If it (Manierre) were 99% white and Lincoln 99% black, people would still choose Lincoln, unless they’ve never heard of ISAT scores and are unfamiliar with the concept of wanting their kids to go to a school that’s not defined by gang affiliations. I remember when people were protesting the closing of Manierre and the proposed movement of its students to Jenner: the major issue was over safety and conflicts over rival gang territory. I guess it’s only petty, prejudiced people that live north of North Avenue that wouldn’t want to put their kids in that environment, but then again tell that to all the hard-working black people I know that look at ISATs, drive an hour each way, etc., to get their kids a good education. .

    Now, it’s sad that there are schools and neighborhoods so far removed from mainstream culture. It’s a tragedy, really. But the idea that the only reason people in Lincoln Park (including the low-income African-American in the project north of North Ave/Orchard, etc) wouldn’t sent their kids to Manierre is “race” is totally untrue.

    My own kids are black, I’d cut off my right arm and raise them in a 1-bedroom basement apartment in the suburbs before I’d enroll them at Manierre. .

  • 10. ChiParentNow  |  November 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    @9 You are what’s wrong with CPS, you should send your kids to school at Manierre and help the other students learn from your kids PRIVILEGE. The fact you do not makes me feel like you are a racist b/c you dpnt want the black kids mixing with your kids, why not?

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Ok, point made. No more comment like that or they will be deleted.

    I want to point out that Manierre parents worked together to make their case to fight for their school because of the private-corp funded efforts going on there and parental involvement. It was Jenner that they did not want to merge with for alleged safety issues.
    Not saying anyone should start touring Manierre, but let’s give the school some credit for what they’re doing (including showing up for a school fair to spread the word.)

    So can we acknowledge that the school has very very low scores that would prevent interest in attendance and leave it at that?

    @9 points out their race, FYI.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Not enough $ or space to go around…,0,2275261.story

  • 13. klm  |  November 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Also being in the neighborhood, I also am almost entirely mystified why some people are acting as though a three-lane drive-thru McDonald’s owned by Satan managed by a Nazi is about to replace Lincoln’s playground. If you were at the meeting last night, you would know I’m not being funny..

    I’m totally unable to figure out how Lincoln’s addition would affect the quality of life of its neighbors in any significant way? Even if the Children’s Hospital gets residential development, those kids would be on the next block over –no families causing car traffic. Kemper (the street Lincoln’s on) is already closed during start and end times, etc. Lincoln already has over 800 kids –if its enrollment increased to 1000 in 5 or 10 years time, so what that not even 20%.

    I know this sounds insensitive, but if you don’t want traffic (which is like, what 30 minutes a day, M-F, 9 months a years –better refill that Valium) and kid noise from a school, why did you but a house near one? Like LPDad said, it’s like moving next to an airport, then complaining about the plane noise and talking about how great it was back before jet engines ruined things..

    It’s hard to describe how some people have gone off the deep end without people thinking you’re exagerating. I also am afraif to go to social gatherings for fear of one of the old-timers going off about how the new addition will destroy Lincoln and ruin the neighborhood –that’s how they talk. And all because the local neighborhood public elementary (open to all, K-8) wants to improve its facilities? Would they rather have a school that’s so under-enrolled that they have to bus kids in (more traffic)?
    There definitely is a “No change, Ever”. element in the neighborhood that creeps me out. When you don’t agree, they just turn and walk away, mumbling about how you haven’t live here as long as they have and how if you did, you’d be against Lincoln’s new addition, etc Those of us that really love this neighborhood really understand how Lincoln can’t grow without ruining what we have, etc.

    It’s been almost 80 years since Lincoln got its last addition, so maybe it’s kinda’ not such a bad thing.

    We moved to the neighborhood for the school, not the other way around. Many old timers in the neighborhood feel, “I know you moved here because you love the lovely environment, then you wanted to enroll you kids at a school school close to home, so if we shrink Lincoln’s enrollment area, you’ll be fine at another school.”

    Uh,no……hell, no. We looked at houses only in the Lincoln School District. Period. As did every Lincoln family I know.

    They really don’t get it and when people try to explain this to them in a polite way, they just seem to turn and start with the “I’ve lived here since the 1950s and I just don’t want it to become like New York” (this is to the word what an older woman [one that was acting like this was the end of the world at the meeting last night] tried to explain to me at my from door the other day).

    “Like New York”: NYC a city that actually growing and has its largest population in history, a crime rate lower than any other big city (lower than the 1950s by some measures), a quality of life that re-energized…..


    Who would want to be like that?! I guess here in high-crime, shrinking (population off by 1m from its peak) Chicago, we need more of a Detroit-like vibe to keep away too much change and unwanted development.

    If we get zoned out of Lincoln, we’re moving to the suburbs.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    klm, are the developers contributing to any of the building cost?

  • 15. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    To #10:
    Number 9’s post is hot. In fact it’s third rail hot, but nevertheless the issues that #9 was presenting had to do with ISAT scores and gang affiliation.
    It’s a question of survival for #9, he/she doesn’t want their kid plugged in with the Gangster Disciples and developing speech/behavior patterns that are inevitably developed through exposure and validation.

    It’s AKA : “I don’t want my kid being ghetto!”

  • 16. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Some of us don’t think a 1200 student elementary school can maintain the same quality of educational experience. People living nearest to Lincoln bought next to a 600 student school, not a 1200 student school. Some in Old Town would like the opportunity to have a neighborhood school within a short walk of their home. Some south of Armitage don’t want the have to sell their home as a non-Lincoln school. Some people don’t want a roof top play cage half the size of the current asphalt playground for 40% larger enrollment. Some people feel that it is fundamentally unfair that Lincoln would get funding ahead of many other overcrowded schools. Some tax payers feel that CPS should not be spending money on adding capacity in a neighborhood with underutilized Level 1 neighborhood schools when there are 50 school buildings elsewhere in the district that were recently closed and two magnet schools that could be relocated.

    All sides have legitimate concerns. The Alderman refused to hold public meetings regarding the plan and CPS has said as recently as last month that there was no plan for Lincoln. Is is a wonder that there are many very angry parents, community members and residents of Chicago?

  • 17. ChiParentNow  |  November 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    @15 why is he afraid that sending his kids to a all-black poor school is automatically bad? Maybe his kids could convince them to not be in the gang or not spoke English badly? That should be the goal!

  • 18. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    So inherently, several groups of people are going to be unhappy, given the range of personal interests.

    In theory, funding one of the best (top scoring) neighborhood schools makes sense — more “quality seats” as JCB used to say. The trouble is that it coincides with the wealthiest part of the city which pisses people off.

    It just seems funny that this other group of objectors who don’t have school kids is now jumping in. We have enough fighting already without them!

    Could they be objecting to the building height? Sometimes that makes people mad. You move in across a building, but suddenly it’s going to be really tall, blocking your light, etc.

  • 19. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    @18 I don’t think it is odd that they are just now jumping in. This is the first time that CPS has talked about any specific solution since the night they presented the LaSalle solution. What exactly were they supposed to complain about?

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I thought the annex had been discussed at some point as one of the options. So it seems like they wanted CPS to say “here’s what we’re thinking, what do you think of this?”

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    to then have CPS face the 10+ different factions you mention above. Seems like a no-win (from an adult POV.) Kids get more space. That’s the win.

  • 22. ESW parent  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm


  • 23. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @20 LSC rejected it as a good option 2 years ago.

    @21 If we set aside the taxpayer concerns about whether this spending is fiscally responsible, and we say that adding capacity to Lincoln Park makes sense, the LaSalle site has 3-4 times the outdoor space as LaSalle. You could do a building swap or add more neighborhood access to an enlarged LaSalle.

  • 24. ESW parent  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Love the “no change ever” comment. Let’s think back to Lincoln’s meeting with CPS two years ago when the WALE group was crying crocodile tears chanting, “Don’t change our school” to protest any boundary changes. (Meaning don’t change Lincoln except to move half the students to a new middle school). Yet now the spin is that the Keep Lincoln Small group is all about no change ever. Ha! Let’s all embrace change and move the boundary lines to create true neighborhood schools, so that no child has to walk a mile and a half across busy streets to get to school.

    It’s outrageous to perpetuate this myth that LIncoln is the only school where kids can get an excellent education in this area. That’s drinking the Kool-aid.

  • 25. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I do think it is very weird. Several folks at the meeting acted like CPS was going to take away their meds. It’s an annex on school grounds, not a skyscraper in your backyard. Get a grip. Children are being educated in coat closets. If you can’t stand the way your neighborhood has changed since 1950, sell your home for a massive profit (thanks to the desireability of Lincoln) and move to a retirement community where you won’t have to deal with all the rugrats.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I can’t wait til this happens in wicker park in 30 years and there’s an aging hipster revolt.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 27. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  November 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    @25: I live in the South Loop and there was a similar revolt by locals without kids (but the vast majority with dogs!!) when the neighborhood school proposed putting a fence around the playground/grassy area several years ago. It was nuts.

  • 28. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    To: 10/17
    His kid will be able to convince them not to join a gang and speak poorly when his kid is smoking dro with them. He’s gonna need to smoke dro and/or drink Henessey w/ Red Bull in order to gain street credit that he’s down with the cause.

    After his kid then goes through AA and wears dreads or stylized hair with a pierced nipple and a tat he can then look back at the choice of school and say “Yes, I’ld do it all again in order to try and help society.”

    Get Real.

  • 29. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    @25 The skyscraper in the backyard is next. Redevelopment of the Children’s Memorial Hospital site is next and likely it will be at least three high rises. Yes, I know, this is living in the City. But the Alderman has been so cagey and evasive with her constituents that things are at the boiling point. Democracy is messy sometimes. These neighbors have been largely ignored by Michele Smith, and when she does acknowledge them it is condescending and dismissive. Her public statement at the September Board of Ed meeting that only 6 people opposed the proposed middle school…..”we know them, we know them by name” really got to a lot of people who had been voicing their opposition for months, and they are not all in their 70s, many are current parents or parents of children not yet in school. The highly controlled and orchestrated announcement of the Lincoln addition on a school holiday where the neither the president of the LSC or the PTA were invited also left a very bad feeling with people. This is an Alderman that narrowly won a run off election by only about 200 votes. Last night’s meeting was likely just a warm up, wait til the developer presents the plans for the Children’s site on December 3rd.

  • 30. anonymouse teacher  |  November 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Asked in a deposition for the lawsuit why CPS officials didn’t consider redrawing attendance boundaries so some students in overcrowded schools would be sent to Manierre, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said “a reason why not is because it is highly disruptive to relocate people from their existing school to another school.”
    This quote comes from

    Its odd to me that Cawley will not “disrupt” Lincoln students or families, but he had no problem helping to disrupt thousands of CPS students this past fall. It would be best for the district NOT to spend money on an annex when there are one or two perfectly good buildings nearby with which to relieve overcrowding. Manierre has space and Lasalle’s student body could be moved and the Lasalle building could return to neighborhood status. I totally get why Lincoln families do not want to go to Manierre. I really do. But I don’t think that should matter. It didn’t matter what was best for the displaced students this fall. The logic was that the district would not survive if their so-called underutilized buildings were kept open. So why aren’t Lincoln students and families held to that same standard? How in the world will our district survive the cost of an annex that is truly not necessary?

  • 31. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Interesting background, @AlwaysObsessed.

    It does seem that this all stemed from approval to jam in a lot more housing into an already dense area. Seems like THAT is the big problem. I’m sorry, you can approve something like that and expect CPS to come up with a miracle solution! So are people opposed to the high rises as well?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    In theory, keeping cps’ promise not to send kids to worse performing schools, they’d be being asked to make a bigger (much bigger) step down than any of the closing schools did.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    But I hear ya. As I’ve mentioned in NYC they redistrict a lot, I understand. The schools fill up as the upscale parents follow the crowds (just like here, but more so because they can jam people in even more.). So supposedly a school like lincoln would just hold a lottery and if you’re in you’re in. If not, I guess you’re assigned to the closest school. Tough love.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 34. tchr  |  November 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Years ago, Nettlehurst was a school no one would send their kids to, right? How did it “turn around”? If an
    abundance of committed families looked at a school like Manierre, maybe it could “turn around” also…

  • 35. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    @cpsobsessed The thing is there is some increased housing stock in the district, the old Lincoln Park hospital is currently being redeveloped, mostly apartments but there are about 8 townhomes going in and the CMH proposed redevelopment will be mostly condos. Using standard real estate development formulas both developments, collectively, would add about 60 children to Lincoln. For a long time the word was that the CMH site would be put in Alcott’s attendance boundary, but there has been no mention of that since the annex was announced. I’m thinking that CPS leaves the CMH buildings in the Lincoln attendance boundary now. The irony is that Alcott, only .4 blocks due north, is putting in a beautiful new turf field and will have a large expansive and useable open, outdoor space. The DNA headline was something along the lines that Alcott hopes to attract more neighborhood students with the new green space. That article was only about 10 days before the Lincoln announcement. I think Alcott’s neighborhood enrollment is about 30%, and Oscar Mayer’s neighborhood enrollment is about the same. It is when you start to look at all of this information collectively that you are left scratching your head.

    Personally I don’t think a Lincoln education is all that different or special to warrant taxpayer dollars being spent on an expansion on an already very, very tight space when some shifting around and a little creativity could get the same result. I could support a $10 million renovation and modernization of Lincoln though as the “new” building dates from the Great Depression and the “old” building is 117 years old. The problem with Lincoln’s expansion is that it is squeezed onto about a quarter of a square city block, if you drive around so many other schools have an entire city block. What happens in 20 years as the Lincoln attendance boundaries remain the same, the trend of the middle class staying in the City continues and all of the children head for Lincoln, where do they go next? I just think the precedent that CPS has set, that of backing away from redrawing attendance boundaries even though no children who were enrolled at Lincoln would be moved, is very shortsighted.

    From the very beginning many felt that this was not so much an issue of addressing Lincoln’s overcrowding problem as it was an issue of looking at Lincoln Park’s distribution problem. Just look at the elementary schools between Division and Diversey, the Lake to Ashland………Alcott, Mayer, Newberrry, LaSalle, Franklin, Skinner North. For many families in Lincoln’s boundary it is a much shorter walk to Franklin, LaSalle or Newberry than to Lincoln. I’m not going to get into that whole thing but right now Lincoln Park is struggling with the decisions made 30 years ago that made Lincoln’s attendance boundary so huge and made LaSalle, Newberry and Franklin into magnets. Is the decision to build an annex just putting off the more controversial action of rebalancing the Lincoln Park elementary school inventory until a time when current students would have to be moved from their schools?

  • 36. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    @cpsobsessed Sorry I did not answer your original question. Yes, many in the neighborhood are concerned that the development at CMH will be too high, too dense and not in keeping with the character of the surrounding area. The developer was sent back to the drawing board in August of 2012 by the Alderman, we’ll see what they come back with on December 3rd.

  • 37. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Folks who paid a premium to buy a home in Lincoln’s boundaries would go berserk if they learned that due to new boundaries, their kids would now be assigned to a low performing school for the next 8-9 years while the value of their home plummeted. But it is better to keep 6 highly vocal, semi-violent, mildly batty people who fear change happy instead.

  • 38. neighborhood parent  |  November 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    re: NYC. Last year there was a huge fight for the boundaries of the local Park Slope (Brooklyn) school. And as I followed it, was struck by the constituency of real estate brokers/developers – they were publicly quoted about the impacts of the boundary change to the market and seemed to have a real voice.

    As a parent at a Level 2 neighborhood school, I’m struck by how the “grass isn’t always greener”…. our hood fights to increase awareness and commitment to our neighborhood school; it’s good to see that LP parents have their fights too. You need a good stomach to be a CPS parent.

  • 39. LincolnParentNumber5000  |  November 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I’d just like to add a couple of points as yet another Lincoln parent. First of all, CPS did not announce any other plans in between their first announcement and this one because that is what they do! Rich or poor, black or white, we are treated equally in that respect. Does anyone remember the whole first proposal? I do. It came out of the blue. Totally.
    They proposed to redistrict and slowly change LaSalle into a neighborhood school. I ask all of you on CPSOBSESSED to check on that old thread and see what was said there. What many of “you” said there. You were condemning Lincoln and Lincoln parents. We were evil. LaSalle was the only hope for poor families everywhere and the rich Lincoln Parkers were going to swoop in and take that away (despite the fact that it was built for the NEIGHBORHOOD.) The rich were taking over the “poor” (Ha. I see the lines of Mercedes, BMWs, and Lexuses every day at LaSalle) kids’ school. Lincoln was the devil taking away a magnet school, even though it was not Lincoln’s idea. Furthermore, there were about 100 kids in the Lincoln District who went to to LaSalle at that time. I have no clue if there are more or less now. Why are they not “the devil” for taking away seats from kids who don’t have an amazing option like Lincoln? That’s a hell of a lot of seats, isn’t it? Why are Lincoln families always wrong for supporting our NEIGHBORHOOD school. We are not taking away magnet seats. We are supporting our neighborhood.
    Yet, on the flip side, if Lincoln had even a majority of those 100 kids who go to LaSalle (and another 30 or so who got to Newberry), we’d be looking at an even worse overcrowding situation. Lincoln Park supports public schools. Isn’t that wonderful? Why is that so wrong?
    CPS sprang that first announcement on everyone. And you know what? It was dumped in less than a week. Could it be because connected LaSalle parents (can you say aldermen’s kids, judges’ kids, etc.) have more political power than Lincoln families do?
    So, when you say that Lincoln families should just be redistricted to Manierre (because let’s face it, moving southern end families to Alcott or Mayer really doesn’t make geographical sense), I say, why should my child walk past a building built as a NEIGHBORHOOD school to go to school when that magnet school has no reason for being here in a severe overcrowding situation other than to get money from the wealthy and connected families who want their magnet in Old Town. It’s not a matter of going to a low-income school. It’s a matter of a neighborhood should be more important than a magnet. If my kids can’t go to Lincoln, why shouldn’t we get “our” building back? Why can’t LaSalle ever be moved? But that was not the case.
    Lincoln took the high road and did NOT push to displace LaSalle. Not one bit. We took the position that the LSC should not do anything that would hurt its constituents — which included many, many LaSalle parents. Yet we are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If CPS had come back and said they were moving LaSalle and redistricting, I’d actually have accepted that. Or moved. But not only was that never going to happen, in fact, it did not happen. CPS made their decision — as they did with all the other less fortunate school who were closed. They did not ask anyone’s opinion in the end. They did not ask “the wealthy” Lincoln Parkers, just as they did not ask anyone whose school was closed or moved. They did not even ask Michele Smith.
    Our outcome is FANTASTIC compared to others. I am grateful. Elated. Thankful. Did I mention, “Thankful?” If not, I’ll mention it again. I am thankful.
    I think the annex is a great compromise. LaSalle is happy. We’re happy. I am very, very excited about it and unashamedly so. I think the CMH development should be redistricted into Alcott or Mayer, however, as I don’t want Lincoln to be bigger than it HAS to be, anyway. And no one is hurt if you buy into a different school district. You know what you’re getting into before you make the downpayment.
    As for the CMH development itself, it is on the site of a hospital, for god’s sake. ANd it’s on an incredibly busy 6-way intersection. It always has been. It has been a crazy-busy, overwhelmingly ugly, incredibly high-trafficked location for more years than ANY of those grey-haired naysayers at the school could ever have lived in the neighborhood. They want it to be, what? A park? A farm? I don’t know, but change is coming whether they like it or not.

    The annex (with redistricting of CMH) is a wonderful, long-term solution. Let’s move forward, folks.

    Oh, and cps obsessed #26. That made me laugh. Rare laugh after that horrendous meeting. So, thank you!

  • 40. rationalcpsparent  |  November 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    The simple truth is not all 400,000 children in CPS can go to Lincoln Elementary School, a school designed to hold 630 students with one of the smallest footprints and playgrounds in CPS. At some point CPS must say no to parents making self-interested and short term demands. At what point is that? Most rational people would say at the point that the playground is being eliminated for 1000 elementary school children. That would seem to be the time for CPS to step in and say no. We are now at that point.

  • 41. tchr  |  November 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Like it has been said already and quoted from the Catalyst article…

    Basically, the parents at my school weren’t exactly happy to have our school become a welcoming school (but without the perks of iPads and air conditioning) for students whose schools closed. And those new students’ parents weren’t exactly happy to have to switch schools either. The parents at my school may not own million dollar homes, but they are concerned about the overcrowding at our school due to school closings and just an influx of students transferring in. The school’s culture has definitely changed in the past few years. We have so many students coming in with problems and we don’t have the staff or SPACE to help them. I would love someone to redraw our boundaries. NOT to keep out certain students. We are a neighborhood school. Our students come to us with problems, and its our job to work with those problems. They’re kids! Even those young ” gang banger” kids. KIDS. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 years old? You’re still a kid, and you still deserve to have a whole life ahead of you. It’s sad we give up on those kids who grew up around trouble. Schools like mine aren’t even giving those kids a chance. Our hands are tied.
    I just wish we were able to have class size limits, or more classrooms
    and more staff members an support staff, or simply be able to transfer students out who don’t live in our boundaries. Mo’ kids, mo’ problems. And no fancy additions planned for the near future.

  • 42. OTdad  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    @30. anonymouse teacher: …”It didn’t matter what was best for the displaced students this fall. ”
    Those students went to better performing schools, didn’t they? Now you are talking about sending Lincoln boundary kids to Manierre! and you are asking “So why aren’t Lincoln students and families held to that same standard?”, please do, move Lincoln kids to a better performing school.

  • 43. barbara  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Amazing series of comments. Both my kids were graduated from Lincoln and I have lived a block away from the school for over 30 years. I am as pro a great Lincoln school as you can find but the traffic problems are already immense and poorly managed, is anyone talking about that? There are plenty of schools in Lincoln Park with empty desks (Mayer, Alcott to name two)–why don’t they take that money (that just ‘materialized’) and make other schools in Lincoln Park just as terrific as Lincoln School, instead of cramming more kids into a school that wasn’t built to accommodate them? Why don’t they take that money and make a great neighborhood high school out of Lincoln Park HS and NOT turn it into another magnet school? Why do we now live in a city where the mayor and the alderman tell people what is going to happen with ‘tone’ before any opportunity for discussion? That is what makes people really angry. This is not a story of the ‘rich’ people keeping ‘other’ people out of the neighborhood school. In education and opportunity, all the people in this story are ‘rich’. There are just too many children to fit, so the solution is to put the playground on the roof and build a 3 story annex. There are parents at Lincoln who don’t like this solution, either and many who are for it now, originally voted against it. P.S. The ‘fist fight’ was totally out of line but the frustration is real.

  • 44. tchr  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    OTdad- why do you think students went to better performing schools? Several reports show students made lateral movements-From level 3 to level 3 schools. My school is a level 2 school, and I wonder how long even that status will last with so many new kids!!!

    Also, please note, NTA used to be a level 1 school, got students from a closed school last year, and now they are level 3. What does “better performing” mean???? How come those students that transferred to NTA didn’t magically all of a sudden perform at or above grade level??? The teachers there are AMAZING. But now that status makes it seem like it is any crummy school. Watch, CPS will close NTA for not performing!

    A school is a reflection of society! If Lincoln families moved to Manierre, and the teachers stayed the same, Manierre WOULD be a level 1 school because the families would make it one.

  • 45. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I’ve seen fistfights with parents in Afghani and Kenyan schools break out over the number of pencils received (ie:1 vs. 2) We have a US society that has devolved, and look at who’s in charge. Are you ready to run for Alderman yet Lincoln Parkers/Cabrini North Shore?

  • 47. averagemom  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Ogden also is overcrowded (again). I’d start by moving the IG classes out of Ogden and LP and put them in another school. That would free up 3 classrooms in each school.
    There’s 2 new highrises going up in Ogden’s area, where the Jewel is and where the Village Theater was.

  • 48. rationalcpsparent  |  November 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    The emotions and motivations are complex, but the solutions are simple. Lincoln is over subscribed by 170 students. Either use the 600 vacant CPS seats in neighborhood schools seeking more students adjacent to Lincoln (Alcott, Mayer, Newberry). Or build capacity within Lincoln’s district at a location that can accomodate an addition AND a playground (LaSalle). Building a $20M addition on a facility which cannot accomodate it without losing a playground utilized after school, weekends and summer for 1000 elementary school students is detrimental to children’s well being and poor urban planning.

  • 49. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 7:44 am

    @rationalcpsparent How many years has Ogden been open now? Maybe 5? So is CPS going to put an addition on the playcage? Send 5th graders to the high school? When the people who are running the district make myopic decisions only within attendance boundaries this is what happens. And those two highrises will be in Ogden’s attendance boundary but a shorter walk to Franklin………..CPS had the opportunity to look at the entire system when they drafted the master plan……..the plan was approved in September but to hear BBB speak about overcrowding just two days ago you’d think there was no Master Plan. If communities saw that CPS addressed overcrowding issues following some kind of plan I don’t think we’d have all this uproar, from Lincoln or any of the other overcrowded schools.

  • 50. HS Mom  |  November 22, 2013 at 8:06 am

    “Either use the 600 vacant CPS seats in neighborhood schools seeking more students adjacent to Lincoln (Alcott, Mayer, Newberry).”

    Seems to me that the primary argument here is that people want to go to Lincoln only – top ranking neighborhood school. They’ve invested, bought into the school district and worked at making it a top school.

    So, people buying into Lincoln…..Hmmmm…if boundaries redirected that would make those surrounding blocks around Lincoln that much more valuable. Those old foxes may have be on to something.

  • 51. neighborhood parent  |  November 22, 2013 at 9:26 am

    48/rational parent & 49/Always obsessed – agree & “Like”

    And yes, 50, it sounds like a turf war, no?
    I think CPS is not stronger than some of it’s gang & clout constituencies. Both groups are able to bully to get what they want.

  • 52. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Real estate values aside, what do you do, Lincoln will accommodae over 1000 students with the annex, do you build another in 5 to 10 years. Does Lincoln become a school for 1,400 or 2,000 down the road? Can it even be that good with that many kids? Ogden is already getting overcrowded less than 5 years after moving into the new school. As difficult as redrawing attendance boundaries can be it needs to be one of the tools that CPS must use to manage the portfolio. CPS closes 50 schools, relocates thousands of students but backs down because some people bought homes in the Lincoln district………….just sayin?

  • 53. OTdad  |  November 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    @39. LincolnParentNumber5000:
    As a potential Lincoln parent (my son is 2 years away from K), I’m also glad that Lincoln gets the much needed room. I remember the proposal about turning Lasalle into neighborhood school, which was actually not such a bad idea. If students south of Armitage go to Lasalle, given the quality of the kids, it will be just as good a school as Lincoln. We are a couple of blocks away from Lasalle. Now they choose to build annex, which may not be perfect but seems to be the least disruptive solution for everyone, brings the least amount of change.

    For those who are jealous, your school could be next. Lincoln’s overcrowding issue has been in discussion for years. Keeping more high income families in Chicago will ultimately benefit all schools in the long run. For those who opposes everything CPS did/does, how about putting yourself in a position to run CPS? No money, crying CTU, crying parents, crying students, crying non-parents…. That’s a position between rocks and hard places.

    @43. Barbara,
    What does the new annex have anything to do with traffic problem? They are just adding room for the existing students, still the same amount of people and same amount of cars.

    ” to put the playground on the roof and build a 3 story annex. There are parents at Lincoln who don’t like this solution…”

    Isn’t the nearby Oz park a better playground for after school? I saw many Lincoln kids playing there. What kind of bad will the new annex do to people nearby? Except maybe the building changes the view a bit, not much else.

  • 54. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 10:32 am

    @OTDad, think I’m pretty much in agreement with all you said.

    Also agree with importance (and seeming lack of) a master plan for some of these neighborhoods.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 55. Video: Fight At Lincoln | District 299: The Inside Scoop on CPS  |  November 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

    […] Lincoln Elementary’s new annex met with neighborhood opposition (and that’s a nice way to puttin… CPS Obsessed: Lincoln Elem school – still contentious now that the non-school people in the neighborhood are mad.  [50 comments] […]

  • 56. PatientCPSMom  |  November 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Just wondering, why the school communities that have a documented greater need for expansion than Lincoln don’t file a class action law suit that forces CPS to disclose how they came to the conclusion to use state funds on this project and not others. What are the criteria that the State gave for dispensing these education dollars? Did Governor Quinn say go to Lincoln Park first? If it’s not a needs based assessment what are the criteria? Many of you have speculated what the criteria was but until a suit is filed it’s all lots of talk and no action. PS I’m not saying Lincoln isn’t overcrowded and doesn’t need a remedy.

  • 57. nwsidemom  |  November 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

    So why is Lincoln Elementary more important than any of the other overcrowded schools within CPS? Supposedly CPS has a “PLAN”. According to that plan the first options should be redistricting and moving special programs from the schools. Lincoln has neighboring schools with empty seats. Redistricting is never easy or popular, yet other neighborhood schools have had to do this. Many other schools have higher utilization rates and are in areas where the neighboring schools do not have available seats. Who decides who gets the additions and who does not? CPS and Rahm need to make the tough choices and stick to a plan. They need a real plan to address school utilization. Then they need to learn to communicate clearly with all of the stake holders.

    No student should have to learn in a closet, in any neighborhood in the city.

  • 58. HS Mom  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

    @56 – “Did Governor Quinn say go to Lincoln Park first?”

    They didn’t go to Lincoln Park first. Projects underway all over the city.

  • 59. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

    @nwsidemom AMEN

  • 60. PatientCPSMom  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

    @58 It would be great to hear about the other state funded CPS school expansions around the city. I know lots of recent expansion plans like at Payton were funded by TIF dollars. I hadn’t heard of other state funded CPS school expansions but would love to investigate what criteria CPS used as a basis to fund them. Seems like I’ve only seen press about charter expansions to reduce over crowding. Thanks in advance for the info on the other projects.

  • 61. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @ 53 OTDad – The new annex is not just accommodating existing students—300 seats over current enrollment will be added. So yes, additional children will be added. Anyone familiar with the Lincoln site can understand the concern about congestion. As the school has gotten bigger there have been growing safety concerns. Lincoln was built many years ago, nestled onto a tiny, one block street . It was designed for students who walked to school and went home for lunch back in the day, and in it’s history it has been very overcrowded, but that was before it drew in kids from such a large attendance boundary, and before it drew in kids from all over the city for special program. People are upset that the Master Plan was completely ignored in the Lincoln decision.

    Let’s say your son starts at Lincoln in 2 years……then by the time he is in 5th grade Lincoln is overcrowded again because this decision ignored the obvious solution to use elementary’s already located in Lincoln Park to solve the Lincoln overcrowding issue. So what happens then?

    I agree that CPS is between a rock and a hard place, but they have made that squeeze even worse with this short sighted decision.

    @ 56 and 57 Completely agree, and what a wonderful idea. Class Action based on the fact that CPS did not even follow its own guidlines and gave preference to a school that has a large wealthy and well connected parent community.

  • 62. HS Mom  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

    @60 see attached

  • 63. nwsidemom  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

    @60 see the public building commissions website for info on CPS projects.

    Unfortunately this does not provide any insight into how CPS makes decisions.

  • 64. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

    @63, 60 I think there could be some merit in banding together to press CPS on their decision making process in light of the master plan being disregarded.

    @53 OTDad, as far as the playground goes. Yes, OZ park is a beautiful resource and the Alcott field will only be a few blocks away, all those are available to Lincoln Park residents. What you may not realize, as it sounds like your son is only 3, is that Lincoln’s playground is filled with kids and parents every day after school. It is a place where even young kids, 1st or 2nd graders, can go after school by themselves without crossing any busy streets. It is a place where parents pick up kids a half hour or more after dismissal, thus lessening the traffic jams at 3:45 p.m. All these little changes together will have a big impact. Raising a child in this City you grab onto every bit of independence you can give them at a young age. Lincoln’s playground has played an important role in that, it was a safe, secure destination where a 6 or 7 year old could go independently right after school without crossing any busy streets. I am not giving that as a reason to save the playground or not build the annex, I am just explaining that from your perspective it does not seem to matter that much if there is no ground level playground at Lincoln and from the perspective of many parents with older children it matters a great deal.

  • 65. PatientCPSMom  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    @62 Thanks for the post!! Now if we can see how and where that state money is allocated that would be perfect. (I know good luck with that from CPS) From what I read, correct me if I’m reading wrong, there’s 59 million in state construction money that CPS got, so then the Lincoln annex at 20 million would take 34% of that money. Seems like when a single project takes up a 1/3 of the available state money CPS should have strong written justification for their selection of this project. Again if it’s not a needs based assessment what are the criteria? It would be nice to know how and on what the other 2/3 of the money is being spent on as well. Unlike TIF dollars these are State dollars and the criteria for their allocation can be more closely scrutinized.

  • 66. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Oriole Park is getting a $20 million expansion and Wildwood $15 million, I believe both were approved at the last board of ed meeting. Oriole Park’s expansion was announced in May but the WIldwood annex is a result of the gambling revenue from the state. I thought the $17 million for Payton was coming from the state fund as well, not TIF money but I am not sure either way. A new 1200 student elementary school was announced for the Southeast side to relieve overcrowding at Peck and Pasteur, it is expected to cost $35 million and is funded from the state money.

  • 67. rationalcpsparent  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    CPS has an Educational Facilites Master Plan mandated by the state of Illinois to ensure CPS efficiently uses facilites, disperses funds wisely and fairly, and uses best practices in urban planning. Had the EFMP been followed, Lincoln would either move city wide programs to another school (IG to Mayer or Alcott) or redistrict students to bordering schools with available capacity (Alcott 200+ seats, Mayer 300+, Newberry 100+), before even being considered for capital expenditures ($20M annex). The utilization of LaSalle was considered because of its obvious and ideal location in the middle of Lincoln’s now enlarged district and its use as a neighborhood school for Old Town residents until about 30 years ago when Lincoln Park’s population dropped and the facility was converted to a magnet school. CPS planned poorly 30 years ago and put 3 magnet schools within a mile (LaSalle, Newberry, Franklin) in Old Town and 2 neighborhood schools within 3 blocks of each other further north (Lincoln,
    Alcott). This mistake will be exacerbated by nearly doubling Lincoln’s capacity instead of utilizing existing facilites wisely. This is a distribution problem that can easily be solved using existing CPS facilites, not a capacity need that requires millions of dollars.

  • 68. MJ  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Why doesn’t CPS have to follow the EFMP?

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Here is some info from CPS on expansion efforts:

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are committed to ensuring that students graduate from the City’s high schools, 100% college ready and 100% college bound. Modernizing our schools and giving parents strong choices for their children’s education is essential to ensuring that we are able to reach that goal.

    Currently, there is a $3.5 billion deficit in capital improvements to our schools for repair and maintenance alone. While there are state capital and TIF dollars available that can be designated to school improvement projects, the Mayor and CEO understand that the District cannot defer needed investments any longer.

    Failing to make critical investments in our schools and classrooms is something that our students and our city can no longer afford. Since 2012, CPS has worked to leverage and commit approximately one billion capital dollars to improve access to technology, critical learning resources, and amenities at schools across the District to give children the resources and learning environment they need to excel and thrive in the classroom.

    Investments the Mayor and CPS have made to reduce overcrowding at neighborhood schools:
    Just as the District has taken measures to address underutilization, it is working to take measures to address overcrowding at a number of our elementary schools.

    The Mayor and Barbara Byrd Bennett will continue to look high and low for available funds to improve the quality of learning facilities at overcrowded local schools. The needs of each school community are different and the District has worked to come up with long-term solutions with the community and stakeholders that will ensure our children have a positive and productive learning environment.
    The Mayor has addressed overcrowding at 33 schools through a variety of options such as new schools, annexes, mobile classrooms, and leased space.

    Some examples of these improvements include:
    A new elementary school in the Southwest Side: The Southwest community is receiving a new elementary school to alleviate overcrowding at Peck and Pasteur. CPS has addressed overcrowding at the schools through mobile units and leased space with at least 20 additional classrooms at each school, and is working with the principals to address educational programming improvements at each school like computer labs and science labs when the new school opens.

    A new elementary school in the Far South East Side: Gallistel and Addams are among the most crowded CPS schools in the district. This new school will both relieve the overcrowding at these schools and give parents another quality school option. Both schools are also set to receive additional investments funded by TIF to make capital improvements in each.

    A new annex for Wildwood in Edgebrook: The new annex at Wildwood School will address overcrowding at this high performing magnet school with an IB program.

    A new annex for Lincoln Elementary: The new annex will create a permanent solution for one of the top ten elementary schools in the state.

    The Mayor has also addressed overcrowding issues at other schools such as Hale, Columbia Explorers, Lock, Dirksen, Little Village, Coonley, Dever, Smyser, South Loop, Bell, Edison Park, Edgebrook, Durkin Park, Stevenson, Onahan, and Oriole Park.

  • 70. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    @68: Beyond just considering facilities, the other consideration was that the Magnet school serve to provide a very good educational opportunity to some Tier 1/2 kids. Changing these back to magnets was taking that opportunity away.

    I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that recommendation. I’d like to think that other good magnet options could be offered to those kids. Also, with magnets going to 40% proximity it is harder for me to find that argument valid. But given that much of this is grey area (uses facilites, disperses funds wisely and fairly, and uses best practices in urban planning) there are other grey area considerations as well and some judgement comes into play.

  • 71. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    To paraphrase, Rahm will look like a jerk for kicking Tier 1/2 kids out of some of the top magnet schools in the city if Lincoln takes over those schools. The Annex doesn’t displace anyone from good schools.

  • 72. MMDEMOM  |  November 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    @35″The irony is that Alcott, only .4 blocks due north, is putting in a beautiful new turf field and will have a large expansive and useable open, outdoor space. The DNA headline was something along the lines that Alcott hopes to attract more neighborhood students with the new green space.” Correction: Alcott is fundraising and trying to get a turf field/ playground. CPS had offered years ago to cover half the cost if we raised half the money. They then said there was no money and the deal was off the table.

  • 73. Chris  |  November 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    ” It would be great to hear about the other state funded CPS school expansions around the city”

    Bell annex is funded with state $$.

    “Rahm will look like a jerk for kicking Tier 1/2 kids out of some of the top magnet schools in the city if Lincoln takes over those school.”

    Wait–so it’s the building, or the location of the building, that makes a magnet school more desirable? Why would *moving* LaSalle to a different building kick out Tier 1/2 kids? Isn’t the real objection to moving LaSalle coming from the OT/LP parents who would no longer be walking distance from the school, if it moved?

    Gang-turf-related strife aside, I have thought that the least-disruptive reorganization would be: merge Manierre & Jenner into Manierre building, move LaSalle 1 (fully intact) into Jenner building, have old LaSalle building used for Lincoln in whatever fashion makes sense (split grades, split district, whatever). I totally understand that that elides a *ton* of issues beyond turf, but from facility usage, and giving the maximum number of the affected kids (and future kids) *something*, it makes some sense.

  • 74. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    To 66: Wildwood community didn’t ask or want a $15 Million project. The community wanted an addition of 4 classrooms, tennis court resurfacing, and eating area. Total cost would have been on the high end $3 Million. The project is an example of the Democratic party insulating the alderwoman O’Connor and the State Rep D’Amico. That’s it.

  • 75. Rod Estvan  |  November 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I think some of the comments have been very insightful. I also suspect this is a done deal. As some of you who know me are aware I am a Lincoln Elementary School graduate (class of 1967). My family as many of the old families from the original Lincoln intake area, before Newberry went magnet and LaSalle also did, made a lot of money on real estate in that area. Folks have been making 100% and 200% or more capital gains on homes in the intake area certainly since the 1970s and the down turn after 2008 impacted values in the Lincoln School intake area probably less than most areas of the city. I totally get the relationship between the intake area and property values.

    As some of you also know what I do for a living is education policy, particularly for students with disabilities. Making Lincoln physically accessible is without question a positive outcome of the building of the addition.

    But here is the problem, and the problem is not limited to this project. Mayor Emanuel has opened the spigot for capital development in the cycle leading up to his re-election effort and that is a long standing political tradition in this city and in other towns across our nation. He is using State, TIF, and local dollars for these projects. The problem is folks our school district is going broke and this conclusion isn’t just mine it comes from the Civic Federation and even the Bond rating agencies. So called pension reform for CPS teachers and administrators will not possibly generate massive immediate savings, most savings assuming such a proposal passes the General Assembly will be back loaded out 15 years based on reductions to cost of living formulas for retirees. By then CPS will have blown up unless there is an increase in school based revenues, meaning increasing property taxes beyond the tax cap.

    Given the projections for disaster, CPS should be focusing all capital expenditures totally on repair and maintenance of schools. I am opposed to all of the new capital projects of additions or new schools regardless whether they are in poor or wealthy communities. What is remarkable in this discussion on CPS obsessed, particularly from home owners in the intake area, is the total lack of understanding that the only source of money CPS can reach for will be jacking up the property tax rate beyond the cap when it is faced with default of its existing debt and pension obligations.

    So for example a new home currently worth $2.5 million in the intake area might be paying $35,000 in property taxes a year could be faced with a sudden jump up to around $42,000 a year. The State of Illinois will not bail out CPS, our state itself is in deep fiscal trouble and that will remain to be the case even once so called pension reform passes the Assembly. So if CPS goes down which is a very real possibility those of you living in the intake area will get hit the hardest on picking up the tab.

    Mayor Emanuel is being totally irresponsible in the explosion of capital projects for a school district that is losing thousands of students each and every year. So the discussion of boundary changes in relation to Lincoln School may in the long run save the property owners money. But the truth is that is not going to happen because the Lincoln project like Payton and the others is a done deal.

    If folks think I am being alarmist please be aware that CPS totally fiscally collapsed in 1979 and then even teachers could not be paid. That collapse resulted in a fiscal oversight body called the School Finance Authority and there were massive layoffs district wide including at Lincoln School. That oversight body ruled over CPS until 1995 when Mayoral control took place and the bailout bonds were mostly paid off. I wrote my MA thesis on that experience so I am very familiar with it.

    So in short Lincoln School may get its addition and the other projects will likely happen. But property tax payers will have to pay up and Lincoln School could be faced in the years ahead with much larger class sizes due to additional teacher layoffs. Welcome to the brave new future of public education in Chicago.

    Rod Estvan
    Education Policy Analyst
    Access Living of Chicago

  • 76. Veteran  |  November 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Wow! Thank you for a very well written explanation of this issue.
    It is very hard for me to understand that the very intelligent parents who write on cpsobsessed can not see this as clearly as you.

  • 77. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    @cpsobsessed Kicking kids out of anywhere is one of the big misconceptions that has been part of the Lincoln debate from the beginning. The original cps proposal clearly stated that no child would be removed from the school where they were currently enrolled. The announcement is still on your site from December of 2011. The original proposal also said that CPS would make 30 additional magnet seats available at LaSalle II. I realize it is not the same school and the initial proposal had major issues with the manner in which they rolled it out and left certain things vague, but the Alderman took it off the table in less than 24 hours. There are many families in Old Town now with kindergartners at Lincoln who would have preferred the LaSalle option, they did not even know about the plan.

    I am not trying to open up the LaSalle debate once again. But kicking people out of any school was never part of the proposal. Look at LaSalle, currently 60 spots for a class, let’s say in any given year 15 siblings are accommodated, then 40% goes to proximity so that is another 24, now 21 seats are left for the tier lottery so 5.25 seats for each tier.

    The other issue with the new proximity lottery and the concentration of magnet seats on the Near North Side is access. First, 40% of each class is now going to proximity, so if you live in Old Town you have an advantage for not one magnet but 3. The second problem with with the concentration is access. Providing choice is great, but not so great if it does not come with access. Concentrating these three magnets puts children in many areas of the city at a disadvantage. Even if they win the lottery, many families make the decision not to attend a magnet because of transportation. Even with school busses provided, it is a hike from the Jefferson Park or Midway to the Near North Side every day.

    The whole system needs to be looked at and not having a plan or not following the plan is mucking things up even more.

  • 78. rationalcpsparent  |  November 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    CPS stated many times at Lincoln LSC meetings last year that CPS would not fund an expansion for Lincoln because there were other low cost solutions available to handle Lincoln’s overcrowding and CPS had higher funding priorities. CPS stated overcrowding relief funds were prioritized by the EF Master Plan to go first to overcrowded schools in clusters of overcrowded schools. There are many CPS schools still languishing in this catagory, with no other options available because they have already used redistricting and removal of programs in these areas. Lincoln is not in that catagory, Lincoln is not an overcrowded school in a cluster of overcrowded schools. Lincoln has not utilized low cost options first to relieve overcrowding. Lincoln is overcrowded by 170 students and surrounded by 600 empty seats. Lincoln’s overcrowding could be relieved next year by utilizing options CPS has available and uses elsewhere in Chicago (boundary change or moving programs to other schools that have excess capacity like Alcott or Mayer). CPS and census projections predict future growth in Lincoln Park can be easily accomodated in existing CPS facilities. There is no need to spend scare funds building capacity in Lincoln Park, unless the goal is to have every wealthy CPS student attend Lincoln. When should CPS step in and say no? When demands from Lincoln impact other overcrowded communites by diverting funds, and demands from adults compromise essential components of a healthy elementary school environment, such as eliminating playgrounds or making them inaccessable to children after school, on weekends, and during the summer. It is time for CPS to just say no.

  • 79. Disgusted Parent  |  November 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    This is like a stressful restaurant where everyone bribes and cajoles the host to get seated, rather than successful restaurants where people wait in line calmly for hours for a good meal because they trust the system. Nobody likes line cutters. If there were a logical order to address overcrowding and other problems in CPS, there would not be fights breaking out everywhere. But instead it comes down to who shouts the loudest. Unfortunately, the system encourages this sort of behavior.

  • 80. Angie  |  November 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Can Lincoln IG program be moved to Alcott? It runs in grades 6-8, so to minimize the parent protests, maybe the IG kids entering 7th and 8th grades next year can be offered a choice to move to Alcott with the gifted program, or to stay in the Lincoln neighborhood program. Meanwhile, the incoming IG 6th graders would start at Alcott and stay there.

  • 81. JLM  |  November 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    CPS handles school eligibility in the same way many suburbs do – if you live within the boundaries, you’re in. Of course, many suburbs have more stable populations, and their changes in the population of school-age children (growth or decline) are gradual and therefore easier to plan for.

    Many cities, however, do not follow this model. A friend in Philly had to camp out the night before K registration to get her daughter in their good neighborhood school. Yes, it’s her n’hood school, but they take a set number of kids and then that’s it. And no sibling preference.

    In Berkeley, the school district has three zones (basically, North, Central, South) and you enter a lottery for which school your child is going to attend within your zone. You rank your preferences and hope for the best.

    These methods obviously have their problems/issues, but one of them is not this wild variability in the utilization (over- and under-) of school buildings.

  • 82. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Boston has a new system sort of like Berkeley with sibling priority, but it isn’t fully open choice.BPS actually tells parents which set of schools to rank and then uses an “algorithm similar to a lottery.” Bottom line is it is very complex.

    Will be interested to see how parents react to it. I would think that CPS parents would go ballistic.

  • 83. klm  |  November 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Re: The Rooftop “Cage”

    OK, if you don’t like the idea of a playground on a roof say that. The whole “cage” comment seems like a parroted response learned from the neighborhood whiners that are almost prepared to die in order to prevent Lincoln’s new facility improvement/expansion.

    Also, what’s wrong with a rooftop playground? The Catherine Cook School has one and it totally rocks. I know, believe me. Plus, it also doubles as a lovely space for social functions –you could have a dream wedding reception up there with a multi-million-dollar penthouse skyline view. With its location, Lincoln’s rooftop is just far enough from Downtown, but close enough to drink in its beauty. What a nice place for a school dance (what better place to have a ‘first kiss’), parent gathering, renting out to make money for the school, show rooftop movies, gathering space for the soccer team after a game, social function for school families. etc. I’ve paid for $25 cocktails on hotel rooftops and I never felt like I was in a “cage.”

    Further, where do people get the idea that Lincoln’s playground is a Chicago Parks District space. It’s not. Don’t get me wrong. We live close by. That’s where we often play before/after dinner. That’s where my kids learned to ride a bike, etc…. But even I don’t presume to (in any way) “own” that space for public or personal use. I mean, it’s the school’s own property that we’re happy to be able to use, sometimes. If the school wants to use ITS OWN PROPERTY for something as seemingly unimportant as, Oh, I don’t know….provide crucial, desperately needed actual classroom space for academic learning, who am I to say, “No! I like it because I can use it to entertain my kids, and Oz Park is like a whole 5 EXTRA MINUTES by foot, so God forbid it gets ‘taken away’ from us –our quality of life will be reduced by God knows how much –maybe as much as 1/10th of 1 percent. Life will ever be the same…..(sigh, navel-gazing sadness) .”

    It’s not some scared burial ground or a gorgeous green space. It’s black top with a smaller spongy-ground playground attached. From what I’ve seen of the proposal, the ground-level playground area will mainly remained intact.

    Plus, if Lincoln weren’t there in the first place, it would have been built up with houses and apartments like the rest of the neighborhood.

    What further cracks me up is that none of the people that have the “Don’t Take Away Our Playground” signs in their windows has a playground-using child (they either don’t have kids at all or their kids are older). Not a single One. I know.

    Also, people keep puffering up the number of kids that Lincoln will be able to accommodate with the new addition. There’s already over 800. OK, with the new addition more can be accommodated, but where does this “1,500” figure come from? Who are these people that in the Lincoln School District that will suddenly move here and enroll their kids? Some, maybe, but will its enrollment effectively almost double anytime soon? Come on.

    I also have to make this comment. As I was walking my dog this morning next to The old Children’s Hospital, I couldn’t help but wonder how the people that act like an addition to Lincoln will ruin their quality of life forever ever dealt with the hospital when it was running. I mean, it was open 24/7/365 with ambulances, hundreds of employees and visitors a day (many parking on the street, including on Kemper, in front of their homes), there was a all-hours heliport (we didn’t mind –it was a total blast for my kids to see a helicopter taking off/landing from the next block –how cool is that for the average 5-year-old ?), etc. but somehow they were able to live there.

    Now, a public school that is literally 100 yards/the next block from this huge institutional hospital (which was BIG, several stories, super tall [by definition] platform landing square, etc) wants to add 19 classrooms and a couple of much-needed common areas —on its own property— suddenly it’s a catastrophe of increased traffic, congestion and rogue urban development-caused madness.


    It’s not 1957 anymore. Things change.

    Thank God. .

  • 84. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    The cage reference comes from Ogden kids reference to their rooftop play ground.

  • 85. klm  |  November 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm


    Whatever its origin, the term “cage” is one I’ve seen (on placards and posters) and heard only from the shrill “no change, ever” crowd that’s opposed to improving Lincoln’s woefully inadequate facilities.

    Obviously, the term “cage” is used to create a negative meaning. Cages are small and void of freedom –places one would be arrested for putting a child.

    I’ve never hear of somebody calling a fenced-in playground a “ground-level cage.”

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    @klm, that one is going in the CPSO Rant Hall of Fame. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 87. klm  |  November 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm


    Oh, I know. I guess it’s time to turn down the snark-o-meter with my rants..

  • 88. cpsobsessed  |  November 22, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    It was high on the entertainment meter – that’s what I look for in a good rant.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 89. averagemom  |  November 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Catherine Cook has a beautiful high brick wall playground on the roof. Ogden has a wire mesh fence,which can be climbed, so it has a mesh roof too. It looks like the exercise yard on the roof at the correctional facility downtown. We call it the prison yard when we pass it. It’s also not big enough to allow the 150 or so kids some grades have to play at once, so no balls, jumpropes, etc are allowed. All the kids can do is walk in circles. At Catherine Cook they run and play ball. It all depends what Lincoln will have, I haven’t seen the plans. Maybe Lincoln can walk kids to OZ park for gym/recess? Latin takes their kids to the park behind the History Museum

  • 90. OTdad  |  November 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    @83 klm: gets my vote for the CPSO Rant Hall of Fame.
    @79. Disgusted Parent:
    “But instead it comes down to who shouts the loudest.”
    Isn’t that happening a lot everywhere? Lincoln’s parents and Alderman (Alderwoman?) Smith have kept pressing for years, that’s definitely a big factor in this outcome.

    Another factor might have played an important role: Lincoln is the highest performing non-SEES school, even surpasses a couple of south side SEES. Plus it’s 17th most overcrowded school. If the overcrowd relief criteria include school performance, I’m not sure Lincoln is a “line cutter” at all. Lincoln kids are not more important, but they definitely are not less important than others.

  • 91. anonymouse teacher  |  November 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    The reality is, though, the annex is a want, not a need. Move Franklin Fine arts magnet to another building that’s been closed and revert it to neighborhood status, move LaSalle to another building that’s been closed and make it neighborhood or move part of Lincoln’s student body to Manierre or any combination of the 3. The annex is totally unnecessary. And there are nearly 50 other schools more overcrowded, including the one I teach in, that don’t have the luxury of the options that Lincoln doesn’t want. Performance should NEVER influence these kinds of decisions and I want to believe it did not.
    Again, a year ago, 50 schools were closed because of dire financial straits. If we are now swimming in dough and can afford to spend 20 million dollars on something we don’t need, I hadn’t gotten the memo.

    The other option that CPS has been discussing for the overcrowded northwest side is to open charters. Why isn’t this an option for Lincoln Park?

  • 92. MSS  |  November 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Also let’s not lose sight of the fact that this side of the city even having these arguments is good compared to what’s ahead. We white gentriphiers of the west of Western may very well have no neighborhood PS to get all riled up about 15 years from now. Just LEARN, CICS, NOBLE, KIPP, ASPIRA. Stand up for your neighborhood PS now, white people, even if today and tomorrow they’re too much free lunch! An intact PS surrounded by educated families in Chicago is certainly something good, whether it happens in 2017 or 2033. That whole thing about “we’ll wait 5 years” (after these 54 closings) is BS.

  • 93. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 23, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Solution: turn Lincoln into a charter. Install helipad on top of annex. offer helicopter transportation (and perhaps flying lessons) for students who live more than five miles from school.
    Your welcome.

  • 94. SL  |  November 23, 2013 at 7:59 am


    @83 That’s not true, I have a 4 year old who’s playing every day at the playground, also a 3 week old who will start playing there if the playground will be around … and I live on Kemper and have the sign on my window. The playground was obviously not the reason I moved in the area, but was a big bonus when I bought the house. And even if Oz park in within 5 min walking distance my daughter loves playing at the playground way more than in Oz park … which is always “overcrowded” 🙂

  • 95. Wondering...  |  November 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Why is it that when an upper-class “white” school gets a mega-million dollar upgrade there’s a huge outcry about “fairness”, but when a “black” school gets a mega-million dollar upgrade (Morgan Park) or a brand new school (South Shore or Simeon), it’s “wonderful for the disadvantaged kids who NEED it”?

  • 96. klm  |  November 23, 2013 at 9:39 am


    Oops. Sorry, I stand corrected. I’ve know most of those people (at least on a casual basis) with signs directly or indirectly, but I guess not all, after all.

    My bad.

    That said, I don’t mean to go on about this same point too much, but as much as I like the convenient open space for my kids, too, IT”S THE SCHOOL”S PROPERTY NOT OURS. Moreover, it is NOT a public park, although CPS allows citizens to use play areas for recreational purposes (unlike a private school like Parker that basically put up a huge, high fence to keep people out, for security, etc. –which is all within its rights and considering its obligations to protect its charges and property, even understandable).

    The play area’s not doing to disappear entirely, only shrink (from the plans, it looks like the blacktop area is where the physical building will go, but the soft play area will be similar.

    You don’t have to answer this (really, I’m just trying to make a valid point, here), but I’ll ask: Do you really expect a PUBLIC school to not use its own property to provide a genuinely needed upgrade to its facilities because you like the way its property is currently set up for your own convenience?

    Nobody is going to build a commercial enterprise, there is not going to be an underhanded deal to make a real estate developer rich on that location, etc., –it’s an essential public institution (a school) being within its rights, both legally and morally, to provide a decent education to all those that live in its attendance boundaries, as it is required and supposed to do.

    The current building is so outdated, crowded and insufficient (not even ADA-public building upgrades to accommodate neighborhood kids with wheelchairs like it’s supposed to have and will be able to do after the new improvements to its facilities), it’s to the point where its educational mission is being jeopardized –it really is that bad.of a situation at Lincoln. Go check out the school for yourself.

    If you’re a neighbor that opposes the new facilities project because you think it’s not even needed, call up and ask for a tour –you’ll see the closets turned into classrooms, the too-tiny cafeteria, the basement storage area-turned-art room with utility lines and pipes inches from heads, etc.

    This is an opportunity for a public school to really get a much, much needed improvement, not for a football stadium or swimming pool, but for classrooms, a band room and more space for eating lunch –all things that it needs desperately –and paid with money from state proceeds from gambling –not your local property taxes, state income or sales tax that you are required to pay.

    And you don’t want it to happen because, what, you like the convenience of having its current-size play lot for your own personal use?

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

    @wondering: in this case, part of the objection is based on the belief that there are nearby buildings available that lincoln could use instead of paying for the annex (those buildings being exisiting, successful magnet schools so not a perfect solution either.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 98. FOL  |  November 23, 2013 at 10:17 am

    The Lincoln annex is a private school solution to a public school problem………OUR Public School System serves all the children of Chicago and is supposed to follow the guidelines set out in its Facilities Master Plan which was adopted by Mr. Vitale and the Board of Education on September 26, 2013. I know the surveyors were at Lincoln on October 13, 2013, a Sunday.

    This is not about a playground. It is about due process, transparency and holding our elected and appointed officials accountable and seeing that they follow their own rules and guidelines. The pages of the Master Plan have been noted below.

    Expanding Lincoln Elementary not the solution to overcrowding at Lincoln. According to the September 23, 2013 CPS Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) there are more efficient options to reduce overcrowding at Lincoln Elementary.

    Lincoln is not among the most overcrowded schools in CPS (pp. 37-40) Of the 68 CPS (non-charter) schools that fall into the “overcrowded” category, Lincoln ranks 55th on the space utilization index.

    CPS has several other less expensive options to solve overcrowding that should be used for Lincoln prior to new construction (p. 31-32)
    Boundary changes
    Managed enrollment
    Relocation of the International Gifted program
    Utilizing some part of another CPS facility
    Continuing to lease space

    3. Permanent capacity at Lincoln and the surrounding CPS elementary schools exceeds long-term demand from area residents.
    a. From 2012 to 2017 the population aged 5-14 residing in the greater Lincoln Park area (which is served by 19 elementary schools) is expected to increase by a total of 285 children. (p. 26).
    b. The two CPS neighborhood elementary schools closest to Lincoln—Alcott and Mayer—are both underutilized per CPS standards, and neither has sufficient resident enrollment alone to keep them viable.
    i. Alcott is about 200 students below ideal enrollment (Alcott facilities master plan document, p. 1.), and resident enrollment represents 29% of its ideal capacity.
    ii. Mayer is roughly 300 students below ideal enrollment (Mayer facilities master plan document, p. 1.), and resident enrollment represents about 32% of ideal capacity.
    iii. For comparison, Manierre, an area school that was nearly closed this year, has resident enrollment equal to about 30% of ideal capacity.
    c. Two CPS magnet schools sit within or directly adjacent to the Lincoln attendance area.

    Putting an annex on the current Lincoln sight is poor use of space and poor urban planning. Lincoln takes up about a quarter of a city block with access on only one side, many other schools (ones that have gotten an annex) are have an square city block to work with and access on all four sides.

    Before an annex is built other options should be considered…..they should be considered openly, at real public forums with all the Alderman’s constituents invited.

  • 99. klm  |  November 23, 2013 at 10:55 am

    @cpsobsessed 97

    Going along with that –well, yes, that’s the problem: All the magnets that were set up at a time when the neighborhood had a dirth of kids (and given that in the 1970s virtually no middle-class person [with some exceptions, obviously] would think of sending their kid to public school in Chicago) CPS tried to do something useful with those under-enrolled spaces and most would agree that it succeeded. Those schools get way more applicants than spots, now.

    The thing is, now that there are plenty of people that are staying or even moving into the neighborhood with kids. Many (unlike a generation ago) want to use public schools, because they don’t totally suck anymore –some are actually “good”, some even are among the best in the state (this would have seemed like science fiction 40 years ago).

    All the magnets and neighborhood schools discussed for easing overcrowding at Lincoln (LaSalle, Newberry, Alcott, Meyer…) have their own agendas now. Alcott, for example, is not sitting half-empty begging for enrollees., it’s filling up and getting lots of neighborhood kids not that it’s now a “good” school (unlike just a few years ago). As its reputation grows, so does each year’s K, so in several years it will be full. We tried to get one of our kids into Alcott, Newberry, LaSalle Meyer….for K , given that Lincoln only had half-day, no after-school, etc. (for child care purposes for that year really), but we were way down the wait-list. at all these schools. If there was so much space at these schools, how did we get the black ball at all of them?

    Moreover, in a highly segregated city like Chicago, these magnets provide lots of kids from tough neighborhoods an opportunity for a good education in a nice neighborhood. That’s not something to take away thoughtlessly for the desires of a few people living near Lincoln that don’t want anything to change, ever.

    If Lincoln could just get its much-needed additional space, all those schools can keep on growing, improving and providing “middle class” type environments and opportunities for many kids that have few, if any, other options other than crap schools (where no middle-class person would send their own kids) in the ‘hood. How many kids would be going to Manierre or a similar-type troubled school if it weren’t for LaSalle, Franklin or Newberry?

    Lots of people that don’t think Lincoln’s “rich white kids” should be given a handout for more space don’t seem to realize that if Lincoln’s enrollment district is down-sized and its kids have to be spread around, that means fewer spots for low-income minority kids at LaSalle, Newberry, etc.,

    Also, let’s not forget that there’s a large, low-income, virtually 100% black housing project in Lincoln’s enrollment district (and also in the subsidized housing on Larabee, south of Armitage). Personally, I think it’s great that those kids have the opportunity to go to one of the best public schools in the state (as do their parents and grandparents, believe me), but if the anti-facilities improvement crowd has it way, they’ll be zoned out. Ironically, Lincoln would become way richer and whiter in that scenario –exactly the demographic perception that makes so many so many people groan about giving any more money to Lincoln.

    There are always unintended consequences. If Lincoln doesn’t get it’s new addition and is forced to shrink its boundaries, take space from LaSalle, Newberry, etc., it’s poor, minority kids that will be made to get out of the way for middle-class white kids from the neighborhood. Middle/upper-middle-class white kids in Lincoln Park and Old Town will always have families looking out for them, even if it means moving to Wilmette or going private.

  • 100. HS Mom  |  November 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

    @98 – Weren’t those options approached first. LaSalle brought back to the neighborhood, Manierre co-located to the new Jenner building both met with huge opposition. I don’t see how you can possibly redistrict and keep magnets as magnets. What about all those people on the south side of the city who screamed because they want to send there kids to a safe area?

    “or move part of Lincoln’s student body to Manierre”

    There is no way that anyone is going to send their kid to Manierre, a school where 2/3 of the students do not meet standards. This might work to address overcrowding by losing families from CPS if that’s the desired effect.

    There are many examples of schools being rewarded for taking what they have and making extraordinary progress. These examples are all over the city in rich and in poor neighborhoods. Lincoln families chose to make the neighborhood school work and work well instead of going private or going to selective enrollment schools. I think they deserve it – even though, God forbid, some of them are rich.

  • 101. anonymouse teacher  |  November 23, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I actually think magnets should be eliminated or at least, they should no longer get a dime of extra funding that neighborhood schools don’t get. We can’t afford it, we can’t afford the special programs and even the small amount of money spent on bus service is money we don’t have.
    Lincoln does deserve a solution, I just don’t agree with the decided upon solution. And as FOL stated above, they are not nearly the neediest school in line. But, because they are rich, because they are influential, they will get a solution and the one they want. That’s the way it works in this city. Meanwhile, schools with much worse overcrowding will have to wait.

  • 102. klm  |  November 23, 2013 at 11:52 am


    I can tell you are one of the one or two dozen or so people from the neighborhood group that keep making the same points over and over.

    All this has been discussed to death. There’s been talk for quite some time. Obviously, people like you don’t like the solution CPS has come up with, so you keep coming back to the same rote points in the newspaper, NPR, here, etc.

    Please understand that I don’t mean to be disrespectful –I understand people genuinely are spirited and have strong opinions because they care, not because they are mean or care less about the wefare of children than others.

    That said, CPS has come into some money (and I understand that there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’, funds spent on Lincoln can’t be spent elsewhere) for building improvement. CPS has (or will build soon) built new or improved facilities for so, so, so many CPS schools (Simeon, Westinghouse, Edgebrook, Wildwood, Bell, …..and on and on).

    Why is it such a travesty for CPS to do the same for one of it’s most-successful, showcase schools that keeps and attracts people with the money to support the rest of the city?

    I’m nor saying kids at Lincoln are MORE deserving, but why are they LESS deserving than other kids in Chicago?

    What’s it about this plan that’s so much more horrible than CPS’s plans for all the other schools that are getting improvements or even brand new buildings in some cases?

    If Lincoln were the only school CPS proposed to improve, facilities-wise, you’d have a real point. But it’s NOT. Far from it.

    Moreover, most people in the neighborhood (even those not with kids at Lincoln) recognize that improving the local public school is a good thing, believe it or not. They tell me, it’s just that they don’t dare say so to the same group circles that are hell-bent on stopping any improvement at Lincoln, no matter what (even threatening to throwing themselves in from of construction equipment).

    And I don’t blame them. After the shrill, uncivil behavior the other night, I’m afraid, too.

    We’re talking about improving an over-crowded neighborhood public school here (with funds designed for that specific purpose, if they’re not spent at Lincoln, they’ll go elsewhere), not tearing down a historic church to build a Burger King.

    I genuinely don’t understand why the same group keeps acting like this thing at Lincoln is just about the worst thing to happen in the history of the neighborhood.

    People keep saying, “We want Lincoln to stay the same.” One neighborhood woman was at my door telling me about how she went to Lincoln in the 1940s and how it was so wonderful and how it needs to stay the same.

    The same as the 1940s?

    It’s November, 2013.

    The school has ALREADY changed –it’s totally overcrowded because it’s a victim of its own success. The neighborhood has changed –there lots of kids now. It’s time to come to terms with reality and fix things accordingly, not wish we could go back in time before Lincoln was not crowded (due to white fight and concerns over public safety).

    What about the rest of us in the neighborhood?

    Don’t we get a voice?

  • 103. Wondering...  |  November 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    @99 “Moreover, in a highly segregated city like Chicago, these magnets provide lots of kids from tough neighborhoods an opportunity for a good education in a nice neighborhood. That’s not something to take away thoughtlessly for the desires of a few people living near Lincoln that don’t want anything to change, ever.”

    I agree with the above, but CPS can’t continually take tax dollars from Chicago homeowners, funnel them to magnet schools and SE for low-income kids who literally LIVE on the public’s dime and keep telling the taxpaying base “We got no money for your kids”.

    Where is the limit? When do we finally say “We’ve given enough — now where is our return on investment”? Or will that ever happen within CPS?

  • 104. SL  |  November 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm


    @96, you are wrong again, If you think my main motivation is to save the playground for personal use.

    I see the unfairness of the whole process. The main issue that everybody who opposes the annex seems to be focusing on is how this deal was done, behind close doors, with pressure from “WALE” parents. Your concern about students having closets and basements turned into classrooms should extend also to poor neighborhoods schools where the situation is much worse. I am also an advocate for these schools since I grew up in a poor neighborhood and I was lucky to have a great neighborhood school that helped me all the way to Ivy League training and career. Not everybody from Lincoln will end up in Ivy League and many kids from poor neighborhoods have the potential for Ivy League if given a chance. Many schools don’t have other options like Lincoln has … and they don’t get any money either. Many of these kids are destined to remain uneducated when they have the potential to become engineers, doctors etc.

    Re: redrawing the boundaries, the situation is pretty clear to me. Majority of the families who are in the “safe zone”, knowing that no matter how the boundaries will be changed their kids will still go to Lincoln, oppose the expansion, because they know that a bigger school with same number or quality teachers will just lead to a decrease in quality of teaching. Please don’t tell me that Lincoln will hire additional high quality teachers from other schools. The families that live in the areas that might be left out by redrawing the boundaries (probably most of the WALE group) want their kids to go to Lincoln no matter what, even if the quality of teaching goes down, still better for them than going to a less-performing school. It’s not as somebody suggested above “a few old folks that oppose the expansion to not have their property values go down”

    If you are really serious about “legally and morally” issues, you know that public money should be invested to make the whole society better, including poor neighborhoods schools, not only the school where your kids go.

  • 105. cpsobsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Look, ultimately there are a lot of factors including community input and judgement call. This community has been working for several years on this, which potentially puts them ahead of other crowded communities who may be a couple years out on working out solutions.

    Building an annex is least disruptive in terms of the bigger picture of all schools. No school is shut down and nobody is re-districted. More seats are added to one of the best neighborhood schools in the city, thus keeping taxpayers. And that area happens to be a high tax base area, thus keeping profitable taxpayers. If you look at the bigger picture of Chicago, I think there’s a valid argument in defense of the Annex.

    On the other hand, I’d have loved to have seen CPS have the balls to just move LaSalle and split the Lincoln district, just because watching all the in-fighting kinda makes you wish that Lincoln Park would just secede from the city. 🙂

  • 106. HS Mom  |  November 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    CPSO – Bravo!

  • 107. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    105. cpsobsessed | November 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    ” I’d have loved to have seen CPS have the balls to just move LaSalle and split the Lincoln district”~ I wished CPS had the balls to to that as well.

  • 108. Angie  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I think a big part of that issue was that neither LaSalle nor Lincoln kids’ siblings were guaranteed a seat in their respective schools. This is especially important for LaSalle families who may live in the neighborhoods with underperforming schools. CPS should have just grandfathered the siblings of the current students in both schools.

  • 109. OTdad  |  November 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    @105 CPSO: You just hit the nail on the head. CPS doesn’t have balls. They pick a solution that can upset fewer people.

    If CPS successfully merged Jenner and Manierre, a less costly solution would be: move Lasalle south to Manierre building. They have plenty of room to even keep Manierre’s early child hood stuff there for low-income families nearby. I don’t think many Lincoln parents would opposes use Lasslle site for higher grades (or lower grades), because it’s still the same school, now have more room for everything.

    @104 SL: “public money should be invested to make the whole society better, including poor neighborhoods schools, not only the school where your kids go.”

    It’s time to spend money (do they have money?) wisely. Just look at Jenner, the building is quite new and spacious (more than 1/2 empty), serving almost 100% low-income students, but only 16% meet the lowly state standards, the problem is definitely not the building or the teachers. Throw money in this kind of schools is a total waste, regardless if its a poor neighborhood or rich one. Spend money on the kids who are eager to learn. Lincoln kids EARNED that money. If Lincoln is a level 3 school, regardless of what Lincoln parents do, no way they can have this outcome.

  • 110. anonymouse teacher  |  November 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    CPSO, I completely disagree with you. You stated that because LIncoln has been working on a solution for several years that they should get the annex as opposed to other schools who aren’t so far along. I personally believe it should matter to what percentage a school is overcrowded as to who gets an annex first. Canty has been asking for an annex for 15 years. Has Lincoln been asking that long? I doubt it. By that logic, Canty should have gotten the annex.
    But seriously, we have schools that are at 187% overcrowded. Some even higher than that. So, because the parent body has the resources and smarts and political pull and money to push in particular ways for an annex, they should get it before other schools that are 50 percentage points MORE crowded?
    I’m sorry any school has to have classes in closets. That shouldn’t be and that is a direct result of CPS’s incompetence. CPS is unable to do demographic studies or think. Period.
    But a school that has a few classes in closets should not get an annex before the school that has a mobile unit (or several mobiles), 6 clinicians in one small 10×10 room, where the social worker has to displace the principal from her office to meet with students, where ESL classes are all in the halls as well as sped, where art and music and library are on a cart and lunches are in the classrooms and many other space issues.
    I do understand that keeping LPer’s happy keeps a lot of tax money in the city without which, would hurt school funding. In the long run, it doesn’t matter what any of us think. CPS is going to do what it always does–what it wants to do in that moment and often without thought.

  • 111. tchr  |  November 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    “Spend money on the kids who are eager to learn. Lincoln kids EARNED that money.”

    I am confused. How do you judge if kids are eager to learn or not? Actually, my poor, black students are VERY eager to learn. “I know all my letters now! Can you give me that B book now?” something one of my 5 year olds said yesterday.

    How did Lincoln kids EARN anything??? Or did they come from rich, educated backgrounds and will continue to have rich, educated lives…

    This particular student of mine gets very little help at home and wants to learn how to read. I think that is pretty amazing and self-motivated. She is 5!!!!! I think she actually did EARN that book AND deserves to go to a not so crowded school….

  • 112. OTdad  |  November 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Lincoln kids = students currently enrolled in Lincoln
    earned highest grades among all non-SEES schools. That makes Lincoln worth improving, now.

    For a low performing school, even though it is 187% over crowded. The solution probably is not building an annex. better solution could be building new school, redistrict, charter, turn over…. Those kids are equally as important as Lincoln kids, but due to the funding situation figuring out a solution is just not as simple and clear.

  • 113. anonymouse teacher  |  November 24, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Oh, wow. Okay, so just to see if I understand right, OTdad, are you saying that it isn’t worth building an annex on a low performing school because their issues are larger than the space issue? Do I have that right?
    I completely disagree, but now that I see (or think I see) where this argument is going, its probably best for me to bow out of this conversation. I do not believe a high performing, less overcrowded school deserves an annex or relief more or equally to a more overcrowded lower performing school. But, if I understand right, I think you do. I’m sorry to hear that.

  • 114. cps alum  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I’m not a Lincoln parent nor do I live anywhere near Lincoln Park, but I really don’t think the annex is the correct solution. I believe in small neighborhood schools. With its current boundaries, Lincoln is not really a neighborhood school– it is a “greater” neighborhood mega school that was created when neighborhood enrollment was small and Newberry and Lasalle were turned into magnets. The demographic factors that caused those decisions to be made 40 years ago have obviously changed. As I see it the correct solution is to revert back to the old boundaries and either move the magnet programs to underutilized buildings somewhere else or close enrollment of the magnet programs and revert to a neighborhood model for all incoming classes. While this would not be a popular choice for parents at Lasalle or Newberry, this is what happened at Edison Regional Gifted center several years ago with success.

  • 115. FOL  |  November 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    @113 thank you for that statement, OTDad’s attitude is one that has prevailed throughout this debate.
    @114 EXACTLY!

    Just to set the record straight. Many have commented that Lincoln has been working on a solution to overcrowding for years……..If I recall correctly the discussions began in 2009/2010, Lincoln’s enrollment was steadily increasing (for a variety of reasons but the growth in enrollment also coincided with the drop in the real estate market, especially for condos and townhomes), and the redevelopment of two large tracts of land in the attendance boundary back to residential use was on the horizon (Lincoln Park Hospital and the former Children’s Hospital). The first time enrollment at Lincoln exceeded the efficient range was Fall 2011.

  • 116. CPScrazy  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    When I first read the story and saw the fighting, I thought these people opposed to the annex were getting worked up over nothing. Now that I’ve had some time to look into this, I realize that this annex is a terrible and unfair situation.

    As a far NW side resident where pretty much all of the schools are overcrowded, I am frankly stunned that Lincoln is getting an annex now. There are many other schools where the need for space is critical and nothing is being done. From Dunning to Albany park there are schools that desparately need space and there are no magnets or closed schools that can be converted. CPS was even “given” a large swath of land at reed-dunning by the city on which to build a school, but it sits there – empty. Supposedly, there is no money. Ok.

    The magnets in LP should be moved into all those empty buildings that we have now. Lincoln should either be broken up into smaller schools and placed into these buildings or one of those magnet buildings should be made into a new neighborhood school. This idea that these magnets should stay because they are benefitting some tier 1/2 kids is a joke. When the 40% proximity intake was implemented along with the sibling lottery, these magnets stopped being real magnets.

    Let’s look at some of the most crowded schools:

    Bridge 215%. Level 1
    Prussing 158%. Level 1
    Canty. 148% Level 1
    Palmer 147% Level 2
    Dirksen 145% level 1
    Taft HS. 142% level 2
    Belding 139% level 1
    Dever 134% level 1

    Hell, even some other LP schools are more crowded:

    Burley 136%
    Blaine 139%

    Or consider Von Steuben. While they are a magnet, they successfully serve an incredibly diverse population in a crowded area. 150% utilized.

    Meanwhile Lincoln is at 124%.

    And remember…we are broke. Right? So building a $20 million annex for a school that is not as overcrowded as others and where there are other choices to be made is a logical idea? Seriously? You guys at Lincoln can’t understand why people are mad?

    It would be disruptive to move the kids? But it was ok to move all those other kids who’s schools were closed? Or, since some of you seem to think only high performing kids should be shielded, it was ok to move Edison RGC? But not your school? Right, got it.

    This is right up there injustice-wise with the Coonley situation. Love that they got a “regional” gifted center a few blocks from another “regional” gifted center and then became overcrowded and bam! new addition! Amazing.

    Lincoln people: stop pretending this is fair. Stop pretending this has anything to do with education and everything to do with clout.

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Coonley isn’t funded by CPS, just fyi.

    Also, keep in mind that the lincoln utilization is based on future projections given new construction. So using the 124 percent util # isn’t fully accurate. I’m not saying that with growth that it puts them at the top of the list, but just pointing that out for accuracy.

    My understanding is that cps got some money to fund space additions and lincoln was very far along in the planning stage so was able to be selected for funding because of it. Not sure that was driven by cps, the community, alderman, or all of the 3. But it does seem that community engagement (aka who yells the loudest) likely affects these things.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 118. maman  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    anonymouse teacher and tchr, you are both 100% right, and this is coming from a parent whose child’s school is in the process of getting an annex (Bell). I actually feel guilty about it.

  • 119. anonymouse teacher  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I don’t really think guilt is productive once its too late to turn back, as I think the case is with Bell. I do think we all need to take action for all schools, not just our own. RYH is working towards, I think, changes to the ways schools are funded and that should help. That’s a great group to support.

    @116, it is my understanding that there may be a charter school opening in the Dunning-Reed area this fall near Harlem and Irving and that is the “plan” to relieve overcrowding. I know parents are being called and flyered about an elementary charter. We’ll see what happens. I will be a little surprised if any charter operator can gain enough support in terms of enrolled students in that area. But who knows? Maybe I’ll be surprised.

  • 120. maman  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    You’re right, anonymouse teacher. But, hearing so many stories of children in poorer neighborhoods getting screwed over time and time again makes me feel bad, and angry.

    I do belong to RYH, and I will try harder to help them out.

  • 121. Polish mom  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    @anonymouse teacher
    Do you have more info on new charter school near Harlem and Irving? We live in the area and didn’t received any flyers.

  • 122. CPScrazy  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    CPSO – well, if you also consider the enrollment change then it makes even less sense. Bridge is + 16%. Belding is + 12%. Taft is +16%. Blaine is +15%. Some of the others are more like 9%, but still Lincoln is + 11%, so it’s not at the top in terms of growth or utilization.

  • 123. CPScrazy  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Look at Bridge. They are at 215% utilization, with growth at +16%. They are level 1 school in a working class neighborhood. Principal got one of those ISAT awards this year, etc. School is on a big parcel of land with plenty of room for an addition. Actually, they could use a recess area too. It’s an asphalt wasteland. They should have been #1 on the list (if there is a list).

  • 124. anonymouse teacher  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t, but I can look into it. I believe they may be targeting families with last names that belong to a particular ethnicity (not Polish). Let me see if I can find out which charter it is.

  • 125. anonymouse teacher  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    @123 absolutely!!!! Bridge is a serious concern and I keep waiting for a child or staff member to be injured. At that point, maybe they’ll build an annex. I do not understand at all how they can be meeting fire code. I can’t imagine what the inside of that building is like during passing periods.

  • 126. Polish mom  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    @anonymouse teacher
    Thank you. My son is in Norwood Park School via magnet cluster lottery. We happy with this school but will be great to know if we have other options closer home.

  • 127. HS Mom  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @116 – Do you also oppose all the other projects slated for schools all over the city including the northwest or is it just Lincoln Park?

    If you think about it, Lincoln Park is probably the only one that has a chance to pay off with the development slated for the old hospital site. Let’s face it, in order for the project to be a success in this market, they need a school. The LP annex is funded by Illinois Jobs Now – a fund set up to provide construction work in an effort to provide jobs. The fund needs income to keep going LP is probably the best bet. Lots of people will benefit here, workers, businesses, the city along with the kids at Lincoln Park – I think we need to look at the bigger picture.

    @104 “Majority of the families who are in the “safe zone”, knowing that no matter how the boundaries will be changed their kids will still go to Lincoln, oppose the expansion, because they know that a bigger school with same number or quality teachers will just lead to a decrease in quality of teaching”

    Let me get this straight – families in the “safe zone” in no danger of being reassigned to another school are against the annex because the current excellent teaching staff might be supplemented by not so excellent teachers. So kids who are not in the “zone” should go to another school that should take on these teachers. But this is all for the greater good so that poor kids can go to Ivy’s. Interesting POV.

  • 128. SL  |  November 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    HS Mom,

    I can tell from all your postings here that you are one of the WALE parents, probably a founder. You fit very well the description I provided above, probably you don’t live in a “safe zone” and don’t care what happens to other people as long as you get what you want. At least I am happy to know you are not my neighbour

  • 129. HS Mom  |  November 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    What’s a WALE? I love Lincoln Parkers, they are our best customers…..glad to see the construction activity alive in some parts of the city.

  • 130. Homepage  |  November 25, 2013 at 5:30 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here: […]

  • 131. klm  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I think the points people are making about equity CPS-wise, the idea that magnets should move to buildings that are empty or under-utilised, etc all are excellent points.

    Yes, Edison RGC did move (since its neighborhood needed the space for growing number of local kids –kinda’ like the situation in LP now) to a building with extra space and it worked out great. It can be seen as a model for efficient use of existing space.

    However, I think a bigger problem here is that there’s the whole issue of keeping people in the city (and the lesser issue of pushing people away from CPS to private schools). We don’t want public schools to be only for poor and low-income kids, otherwise CPS will be “ghettoized” (even more than now) which is not good for anybody/Chicago/society in the long run.

    The same issue can be said when we look at Chicago in the “long-term, big picture” kind of way. People with money (middle-class+) have options. They can move to suburbs with 100% guaranteed good schools or send their kids to private schools (even parochial ones when they’re not Catholic or whatever church runs it).

    It may seem insensitive and uncaring when there are poor people with real problems to cater to the middle-class (I mean, there are kids walking to CPS| schools in war zones) or such seemingly unimportant issue as neighborhood school zoning, spending money on additions, etc. I can certainly see that point.

    However, if there is one thing that we can learn about the experience of American cities after WWII, the ones that have been successful are the ones that have tried to keep the middle-class happy, because without a large number of middle-income+ people, the whole city will go to heck in a hand basket, and its poor people will be even worse off, because they’ll be “stuck” in a city that virtually nobody else wants to live in (Gary, Detroit, Cleveland, etc.) which only exacerbates their misery and problems.

    Middle-class people want two things:

    1. Public safety
    2. Good schools

    If a city ignores these concerns, they’ll leave.

    The issue here is that so many people like us, concerned almost to the point of paranoia, examining ISAT scores, touring schools, etc., made the choice to stay in Chicago because they found a great public school where their kids can go and get a great education: Lincoln Elementary.

    They planed their entire decision to stay in the city and made their life’s biggest investment (their home) based on the fact that their kids will go to Lincoln (one of the best schools in the state), not a school ranked towards the middle or bottom half.

    This was the bargain they made to stay in Chicago and not move to Wilmette or Oak Brook.

    Now, some people want –and I’m not being dramatic here, it really is like this for some people– to tear their family’s world apart, by sending their kids to some other (not nearly as ‘good’) school that they didn’t sign up for. Maybe another school that if they knew would be their kid’s school, they just would have move to the suburbs in the first place.

    People can just say, “Oh, booh hooh–like those people really have anything to worry about, screw them if they can’t handle their kids going to a school that’s not ranked high, they just need to work to turn it around. They can afford to pay a million dollars for a home, so how are they in any way ‘victims’ –don’t make me laugh!…”

    The damage this can do to the psyche of middle-class people thinking of staying Chicago is not something to dismiss as A Big Box White Whine.

    People (like us) that are planning their lives around schools for their kids, will start to wonder if they should stay once they have school-age offspring, since if they buy in the Lincoln, Oriole Park, Bell, Blaine, Edgebrook (all the schools that are marketed as a selling point in real estate ads), ….school enrollment area, they know that CPS can just change where their kids can go the school whenever, so who wants to plan their life around a particular school, when there’s no reason to very sure that they’ll be getting what they bargained for.

    The fact is, CPS schools are totally hit-or-miss. A great school’s district can border failure factory’s (e.d., Lincoln and Manierre).

    Casually messing with school boundaries is not something to be dismissed as something totally secondary to what’s convenient, seems more fair, etc., to some people.

    If our school’s enrollment zone is messed with and we’re supposed to enroll our kids at another school (and I hate to sound like a ‘school snob’, but I’m all about what I can see measured and what people whose kids go/have gone to these other schools –not good news, I’m afraid), we’re moving to the suburbs.

    Some people will say, “Fine! Good riddance to bad rubbish –we need people that really care about public education and are willing to work to change a school, not snooty people with a sense of entitlement that forget that they’re living in Chicago, not Winnetka.”

    But we’re a good, middle-class family, educated people, that are involved, etc. with kids that are doing great and keep out of trouble –the kind family Chicago needs.

    Lose many people like my family and Chicago’s in real trouble.

  • 132. LP  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Once the housing market picks up and the LP moms pack up and get out to the north shore with their friends who made it out before the housing crash, it’ll be interesting to see the LP school numbers drop and watch that new annex empty out.

  • 133. LincolnMom  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

    @94 (SL)

    Please take down your signs – especially the one that says “South Of Armitage sold us out”. That a terrible message message for our kids to see when they go to school each day.

    Even if you believe that those of us that live south of Armitage engaged in nefarious political action to get only enough money from the state to build an addition rather than enough money to build a new building (which we all would have preferred), you can’t think the kids really had anything to do about it. The shouldn’t feel like they’re going to school in a hostile environment.

  • 134. RandomParent  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:55 am

    All other schools in LP like Alcott, Mayer, LaSalle are pretty good too. I personally think it’s the strong parental involvement that makes the school good. If we relocate the Lincoln teachers to different neighborhood schools in LP, I’m sure Lincoln familites will follow.

  • 135. Disgusted Parent  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:57 am

    HSMom, CPS is not in the business of making sure a real estate development is successful. Residences at Children’s should be districted to Alcott. How many kids really live in high rises in Lincoln Park? Not many, but Alcott is trying to attract new kids anyways. They only have 474 kids in a school built for 720.
    The Lincoln mega expansion is being funded by future gambling revenues, not current revenues or Illinois Jobs Now. In other words, we borrow the money (at taxpayer expense, like all capital projects) and then expect to pay off the debt with future revenues (like a pay day loan!). Capital spending above what is in the annual budget is always more expensive for taxpayers and always adds further to our debt. Any spending on capital projects will provide jobs to Illinois Workers; but this money from gambling should be used to deal with the deferred maintenance projects around the system ($3billion) before it spends money on controversial annexes in areas of overcapacity. Yes hard decisions have to be made. But overall the entire system will be healthier and will avoid complete meltdown if we stick to a plan that makes sense.

  • 136. HS Mom  |  November 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

    @135 “CPS is not in the business of making sure a real estate development is successful.”

    No it’s not. But the school system as part of any urban planning does impact the success of housing, businesses, services – all things that need to be considered when planning schools. Whether this development is part of Lincoln or Alcott may be inconsequential to its success, I don’t know. But, we should be vested in succeeding for the sake of growth and income for our city.

    “The Lincoln mega expansion is being funded by future gambling revenues, not current revenues or Illinois Jobs Now.”

    My understanding is that this is exactly what the Jobs Now program is. Billions set aside for state capital improvements to create construction jobs lost in economic hardship. These funds are generated by bonds (which we all know Illinois loves to do) and are to be paid by income generated – predominately gambling and taxes. If, as you say Lincoln is not part of the program, then there are other CPS schools that are – which is great. My comment still stands that the Lincoln project has the greatest potential to bring in money to the city in the form of more jobs, good for local businesses, and good for the development that will bring in much needed RE taxes

  • 137. LincolnMom  |  November 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I think it’s fair to say that few people are truly happy with this solution. However, there is one important factor to consider in all the complaining.

    CPS is currently paying something like $180,000 a year to lease space at DePaul and will need to lease additional space as the school population grows. The annex will free up that money to be spent in other schools starting in 2015. It will pay for itself out of those savings in about 10 years. Very few school construction project are associated with a direct cost savings. At least from a financial perspective this seems like a reasonable decision.

    There are no good options.

    There are political issues with having Lincoln take over Alcott and split into a lower school and an upper school.

    There were big time political issues with converting LaSalle to a neighborhood school – not to mention the issues with removing virtually 100% of the minority/low income population from Lincoln.

    There are ethical issues with the CMH developer trading the land necessary for a new school for zoning waivers and financial issues in building a new school.

    Moving students from a high performing school to a low performing school is counter to every educational policy everywhere.

    There are financial issues with continuing to rent space at DePaul on a long term basis.

    So, please don’t be disgusted with the city finding a way to save close to $200k a year in rent. Don’t be angry that they found a way to have less than 31+ kids in each class (There are 99 kids in K and over 90 in 1st grade this year). Every kid in the city deserves to be in a class with less than 30 students – and our kids are not an exception.

  • 138. klm  |  November 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm


    You bring up all the good, relevant points.

    When people have strong agendas for one side or the other, they simply want to gloss over or ignore all the important facts and considerations that aren’t convenient for their side of the argument.

    There is no perfect solution here, but this does seem like the least worst one, IMHO.

  • 139. OTdad  |  November 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    @113. anonymouse teacher:
    What you were implying is actually not my point. For sure, every student deserves a good learning environment, but a lower performing school is less deserving building a new annex than higher performing schools, if we are looking for permanent solutions for the students’ education. It’s the same as a good running car is more deserving to have some bodywork done than a not so good running car. A new car, engine overhaul, leasing,… might be better solutions.

    About 2 years ago, I heard it on the radio. Someone from CPS (Tim Cawley?) said something like: CPS has made it a priority in supporting high performance schools that are over capacity. Lincoln has been in the talks with CPS even earlier than that.This Lincoln annex is not a random act out of no where solely because Lincoln parents cried louder.

    From CPSO’s post (#69) above, the city addressed 33 schools’ overcrowd issue. I would guess performance is definitely a factor why Lincoln, Bell, Coolney, South Loop made the list. Lincoln is actually 17th most crowded if taken away the leased space and Lincoln is one of the highest performing schools in Chicago. It could easily be on top of the overcrowded high performance school list, that why I said “Lincoln kids earned it”. Is Lincoln Elementary really so outrageously undeserving? or mostly because it’s in a relatively affluent neighborhood touched the nerves?

    20 million sounds all the money CPS has, but I guess the new schools built on Southwest Side for Peck and Pasteur, on Far South East Side for Gallistel and Addams would cost even more.

    CPS is known for making popular/optimal decisions, such as closing schools, asking Pre-K parents for tuition, funding cuts…. Not long ago, didn’t CPS awarded a non-bid contract on principle training, for (how much?) 20 million. Addressing issues among top performing schools is not such a bad move and might help CPS in the long term.

    That said, as a parent, I fully understand the frustration. If my kid ends up in a low performing, crowded school, I will be upset too. How come those kids in SEES, magnets, other neighborhoods deserve better schools than my kid? The injustice is everywhere, but my kid can only be 6 once, needs everything now.

  • 140. Rod Estvan  |  November 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Since HS Mom posted a comment noting that the Lincoln School annex was being funded through the Illinois Jobs Now program and bonds associated with that program it might be good to note the total allocation to CPS from this program. If you go to you can read an article about the money CPS is getting from that program.

    The article states “CPS’ share includes $59 million in capital construction grants, $10 million for maintenance, $4 million for energy efficiency and $16 million to help ease overcrowding.” The total is in other words $89 million. So since the Lincoln School project is projected to cost $20 million that means it is using 22% of all the funds allocated to CPS. On the face of it that seems excessive.

    My reading of the underlying legislation for the Illinois Jobs Now program indicates to me CPS could reallocate most of the funds to repair or renovation grants and spread the money around rather than spending so much on a very few big annex projects. See on that issue.

    Rod Estvan

  • 141. PatientCPSMom  |  November 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    @140 Agreed. I made a similar observation, earlier in the thread but only used the $59 million from the capital construction grant and divided the $20 million dollar annex, which is a whopping 34% of that total. I did check out both you links and interestingly the school construction program is run by the Capital Development Board whose Chairman is from Old Town. SEE BELOW

    Peter O’Brien of Chicago was named to the Capital Development Board in April of 2011. Peter is Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of his family business, MADO Management LP. Peter has over three decades of experience in the development and management of commercial and institutional properties within the state. Peter has served on the Illinois Development Finance Authority and most recently MPEA, as Board member, secretary/treasurer and then appointed to the interim board.

    Peter is an active Trustee of Old Town Merchants and Residents Association, Past President of The Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago and a board member of The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board and the Illinois Restaurant Association.

    Not sure what oversight there is on this State Grant but I’m pretty sure someone can request an oversight review.

  • 142. cpsobsessed  |  November 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Update from WALE (We Are Lincoln Elem) – I believe this is the group that pushed to keep the school as one district:

    While we all hoped that Mayor Emanuel’s announcement that our neighborhood is being blessed with a new school annex would be enough to put a rest to efforts of those few in the neighborhood opposed to Lincoln, the opposite has come to pass. The Anti-Lincoln crowd is now distributing pamphlets in the blocks surrounding the school (including giving them to children on the playground), inciting anyone who will listen to rise up against Lincoln. Their next target: the Mid-North Association meeting this evening. Apparently, they want the MNA to get involved and write a letter opposing the Lincoln Annex. The same people who called the media to Lincoln last Tuesday to film them being disruptive and starting fistfights will likely be there tonight (whether they come screaming and bearing posters again is unclear). The spreading of false information continues, with their pamphlet stating that the Lincoln Annex threatens increased height/density at CMH because now the neighborhood needs to fill empty seats. Preposterous, I know, but I can’t make this stuff up! MNA needs to know that this is a vocal minority who doesn’t care about educating the students of the neighborhood. If you can attend MNA to voice support for the Annex, please do.

  • 143. cpsobsessed  |  November 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    And the pro-annex group:

  • 144. FOL  |  November 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Again with the facts. Those that oppose the middle school did not call the media. The only media there were Paul Biasco from DNAinfo, he has been at every LSC and school meeting on this issue since the beginning. The other media outlet, ABC Channel 7. The only person who got Channel 7 there was their own reporter, Sarah Schulte, who also happens to be a Lincoln parent and was present at the meeting.

  • 145. anonymouse teacher  |  November 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    @139, you said, “For sure, every student deserves a good learning environment, but a lower performing school is less deserving building a new annex than higher performing schools, if we are looking for permanent solutions for the students’ education.”
    These are your words. A lower performing school is less deserving building a new annex than higher performing schools. That is what I disagree with. Children cannot be compared to cars. The analogy does not work. It especially does not work when every single piece of research on the planet indicates that the single most important determiner of student performance is family income. Lincoln’s success is due to its income level. Take away that income and Lincoln’s students, as wonderful as I am sure they are, would perform no better than my students. So all the district is doing is rewarding wealth.
    And you cannot include the leased space when figuring in the space issue, because then you’d have to go through and include everyone else’s leased space and mobile units. We have schools with 4, 5, 6 mobiles with 4 classrooms in each one (or possibly more, though I’ve only seen the 2-4 classroom models). You have some schools leasing Catholic school space.
    I think we need to agree to disagree. You are looking through one set of lenses and I am using another set. I do wish all of Lincoln the best and hope that someday, our city will begin to do the right think by all its students.

  • 146. cps alum  |  November 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    @131 KLM–When Edison RGC moved, cps redrew the boundaries of high performing neighborhood schools (Oriole and Ebinger) to create the new school Edison Park Elementary. When this happened there wasn’t a mass exodus of the middle class to the burbs. Instead Edison Park has also proved to be high performing and now CPS had 4 good schools when there were 3. If CPS were to move LaSalle and Newberry I predict a similar results in Lincoln Park.

  • 147. HS Mom  |  November 25, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    @145 “The analogy does not work. It especially does not work when every single piece of research on the planet indicates that the single most important determiner of student performance is family income. Lincoln’s success is due to its income level. Take away that income and Lincoln’s students, as wonderful as I am sure they are, would perform no better than my students.”

    “Given the tremendous impact teachers have on learning—they are the single most important school-based determinant of student achievement”

    “There is clear evidence that a teacher’s ability and effectiveness are the most influential determinants of student achievement.”
    “The Advisory Committee acknowledges that there are many factors that influence student achievement. However, national studies have shown that teacher quality, which was the focus of this review, is a vital determinant of student achievement.”
    various sources

    Taking a quick look at research on the web, didn’t find one study that says income is the most important determinant. Not that income isn’t an important factor. I think it would be ambitious to state that the difference between yours or any other students to Lincoln is income. In all likelihood, higher income students are exposed to better teachers and parents who care about education. This can be true for low income students as well.

    I think I know where OTdad is coming from. As someone touched on earlier, is it wise to invest in a struggling school with an addition and expansion instead of other interventions? I’m not saying that your school is struggling that’s just part of the dynamic. Maybe high needs schools do need to be broken up into smaller separate buildings. Just thinking. To me, annex/addition/expansion goes along with success.

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  November 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    My understanding about teacher quality is “all other things being equal” then teacher quality is the most important.
    It’s too coincidental that the schools and school districts that score highest (I’ll and across the country) are those with higher income. Direct relationship.
    Within income bracket there are differences which may come from teacher quality .

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 149. Angie  |  November 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Recognizing the Value of Good Teachers

    “Union leaders want to say that teachers are very important for public schools. But then again, not too important—because teachers should not be expected to make up for poverty and for uninvolved families. They want to highlight the exceptional teachers. But then again, not too much—because they do not want attention drawn to completely ineffective teachers. They want to argue that the pay is insufficient to attract and retain good teachers. But then again they do not want to draw attention to the salary schedule that refuses to acknowledge differences in teacher effectiveness.

    Interestingly, recent research into teacher quality strongly reinforces the “buts” in the sentences above.

    Studies examining data from a wide range of states and school districts have found extraordinarily consistent results about the importance of differences in teacher effectiveness. The research has focused on how much learning goes on in different classrooms. The results would not surprise any parent. The teacher matters a lot, and there are big differences among teachers.

    What would surprise many parents is the magnitude of the impact of a good or a bad teacher. My analysis indicates that a year with a teacher in the top 15 percent for performance (based on student achievement) can move an average student from the middle of the distribution (the 50th percentile) to the 58th percentile or more. But that implies that a year with a teacher in the bottom 15 percent can push the same child below the 42nd percentile. With a teacher in the bottom 5 percent, a student may plummet from the middle of the distribution to the bottom third at the end of the school year. Obviously, a string of good teachers, or a string of bad teachers, can dramatically change the schooling path of a child.”

  • 150. HS Mom  |  November 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Here’s what one of those reports said about the effect of affluence:

    “schools in less affluent areas tend to have less experienced, less educated teachers who are less likely to hold full credentials, and these are the schools that have the lowest test scores…

    One result that appeared meaningful in almost every model that we
    estimated had to do with the time a student spent at school rather than with school resources themselves. Specifically, the percentage of days a student was absent was a strong negative predictor of each student’s gain and achievement in math and reading

    an individual student made much more academic progress in school years in which he or she was surrounded by peers in his or her grade who had high scores on the prior spring’s test.”

  • 151. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    @147 “Given the tremendous impact teachers have on learning—they are the single most important school-based determinant of student achievement”

    Family income is not a SCHOOL-BASED determinant. Teachers are.

  • 152. anonymouse teacher  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I truly believe teacher quality matters and matters a lot or I would not be doing this job. But income matters more. See below. Teacher quality is the most important SCHOOL factor. External factors, like income, influence acheivement MORE.

    “Are teachers the most important factor affecting student achievement?
    This has become the default first sentence of many speeches and reports on teacher quality. Recently, it’s become common to clarify that teachers are the most important “school-based” factor in learning—a critical qualification, given that factors external to schools exert more influence overall on student achievement than any factors inside the school.
    A famous 1966 study by James Coleman found that background characteristics such as race, parental achievement levels, and family income swamped most other factors studied as determinants of student test scores. Decades of research have confirmed this study’s general findings, with a 1999 paper estimating that 60 percent of variation in student achievement was attributable to such background characteristics.”

    (from EWA_Teacher_Effectiveness_Brief_June_2011.doc)

  • 153. anonymouse teacher  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    HS obsessed, read the link and study you provided again. The article states in the first paragraph that teacher quality is the most important school based factor. Not the most important factor overall. Income trumps all other school based factors.

  • 154. anonymouse teacher  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Angie, my guess is that Hanushek took sound bites from the same article that HS Mom quoted from without paying attention to it. I wish he’d included a bibliography for his statements to lend them some credibility.

  • 155. Angie  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    @154. anonymouse teacher:

    Lifting Student Achievement by Weeding Out Harmful Teachers

    “Considerable research has gone into separating the impact of teachers on achievement from that of families, neighborhoods, and school peers. This research has produced extraordinarily consistent and similar results. From one perspective, a very good teacher can get a year and a half of student gain in learning over a school year, while a poor teacher gets half a year – a huge difference that leaves some students permanently harmed.

    It turns out that overall impacts are particularly important at the bottom end of the teacher distribution. If, as noted, we could replace just the bottom 5-10 percent of teachers with an average teacher, we could expect the achievement of U.S. students to rise at least to the level of Canada and perhaps to Finland.”

  • 156. cpsobsessed  |  November 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Been meaning to post this article. I talked with the person who wrote it, giving some background on the metamorphasis of CPS elem schools in the past 10 years. His analysis shows the impact of gentrification on test scores in the city.

    Did these schools make a shift in their teacher quality *before* the gentrification started? How else would the shift in test scores be explained by teacher quality alone?

    I’m sure (or hoping) that even those who support the notion of teacher quality importance (which I think is all of us) also can acknowledge the impact of socio-economic background on test scores. As I sit here now with my son, doing writing with vocab, he knows almost every word they’re covering. How would a child who had parents who don’t have a wide vocabulary know a wide range of words from outside of school? Or a child who’s parents aren’t native english speakers. Or a parent who’s not going to look it up for them? It seems apparent to me how this would impact school outcome.

    Even the amazing Finland gives more funding to lower income kids (as do the other countries that have better educational outcomes.) They must recognize a greater need (that apparently the US does not place a priority upon.)

    Off soapbox… back to homework help/brow beating.

  • 157. anonymouse teacher  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    @155, the article does not compare family income to teacher quality. That is what we are discussing, no?

    I think most people would agree that teacher quality is important. Many articles touch on it being the most important “school based” factor. I believe this as well. However, again, please use your best reading comprehension skills here: External factors like income far outweigh even something as critical as teacher quality-a school based factor. Refer back to the research from post 152.

  • 158. HS Mom  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I still don’t get from this that the only difference in performance of say equal IQ high/low income child A and child B is income alone. He calls income a predictor which is clear but not the determinant. The determinant is teacher quality, attendance, peers etc which tends to be more positive in higher income households.

    From this we can not assume that the child’s family income is driving success/failure but the environment. So the Lincoln Park kid is not necessarily performing better because he/she has greater income but because they have a supportive home, great teachers, attend school and spend time out of school learning, compete with peers etc. So, yes, they’ve put in the effort and achieved. It’s not something paid for. There are plenty of low income kids with the same accomplishments. I think the schools will continue to trend upward as education becomes more of a priority for all income levels.

  • 159. PatientCPSMom  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I was wondering if all the posts on teacher quality would agree with what my experience has been and that is CPS teacher quality is directly related to parent expectations for the delivery of educational service. Parents can and do often set the bar for instruction as much as the central office. When I have spoken to Principals regarding my expectations for my child’s class the teacher’s engagement with the whole class changed. I do believe sharing my observations in a positive way with the Principals made the class instruction better. I also believe this type of parent involvement happens all time at good CPS schools and that’s why the instuction is more tailored and perhaps better. Seems to me teachers are only as good or bad as parents let them be.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I agree @patientcpsmom – I do think that’s part of the success of the higher socio ecom areas in holding the school to higher standards, many people step up to the plate it seems.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 161. tchr  |  November 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I gotta say, I don’t have nearly the amount of experience or knowledge that anonymouse or other amazing teachers have. But given my circumstances, I kinda rock teaching. I do. I work hard. I go to work early. I stay late. I give up my lunches and prep periods to work with students. I differentiate homework and reading, writing, and math instruction. Oh yeah- I teach at a school no one on this site would send their kids to. I have 35 students!!! My students often miss a day a week. I have several students who have not completed one homework assignment and who repeatedly lose the books I send home. I have students whose parents I have yet to meet- no show at report card pick-up, siblings pick the students up, I have no working phone numbers.

    I have students who cry when they are 30 minutes late to school because they missed breakfast in the classroom and didn’t have any dinner the night before.

    I have students that transfer in mid year because of rough home life situations.

    Look, I do all that I can to meet the needs of ALL of my students. But I am one person. And my isn’t like your schools. I am BURNT OUT! Schools like mine have low skilled teachers because no one can survive this job for more than a few years.

    Yes, my students will have more than 1 year’s growth because I work my butt off- and I have high expectations for them to do the same! But even in my poor, poor school, my students making the highest gains are the students who have parents that get them books, TALK to their kids and ask them about their day, can vision the path they want their child to be on. I will take a little bit of credit for helping them on that path, but when I have kids reading 1st and 2nd grade level books in K, it is NOT me that got them there. It is their parents. If it was me, then ALL of my students would be there too.

  • 162. HS Mom  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

    @161 yes, that’s exactly the issue.

    From the previous post

    “Take away that income and Lincoln’s students, as wonderful as I am sure they are, would perform no better than my students.”

    That’s what makes this statement untrue. If a Lincoln parent lost his job or a poor kids family won the lottery they would likely continue to perform the same in school. We have 2 teachers posting here who are exemplary in their field. So let’s take away the quality teacher issue (which is still there lurking with every passage of a grade). A Lincoln kid is performing well because of something that they are doing – does not start the school year late and end early taking off additional chunks of time in between, studies and does their homework, is involved in a lively challenging classroom filled with other kids interested in learning. You can fill in the blanks better than I can here. Yes, through no fault of their own, “poor” kids or anyone for that matter may have parents who are not enforcing or providing the correct environment.

    As far as solutions, much of what you say really enforces the magnet concept. Also, not getting into the charter discussion, there is something to be said about hard and fast rules. I’m sure there are plenty of low income, uneducated parents who do care about their kids but don’t know how to do it.

    I don’t like talking about “rich” vs. “poor” because at my school with a large low income, diverse population, including myself, these kids are right up there with everyone else.

    Hating on a group because they are rich takes away from the fact that these kids are motivated, doing what they are supposed to be doing and performing. They deserve their reward. The invisible line of needy schools must be a long one. It seems that many have good reasons and big needs. I hope this is something that we can overcome and move forward.

  • 163. IBobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:23 am

    “So the Lincoln Park kid is not necessarily performing better because he/she has greater income but because they have a supportive home, great teachers, attend school and spend time out of school learning, compete with peers etc. So, yes, they’ve put in the effort and achieved.”
    HS Mom, what you seem to be missing is that the factors you cite, while technically distinct from income level are so closely correlated, they are virtually indistinguishable from income in the concrete.

  • 164. IBobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

    When a person has experience with, has known many low income families, it is easy to see how income advantages children academically. Providing a home supportive for learning is difficult when you are not home with your children after school because you are working 2 minimum wage jobs, and cannot even step away from the fryer to call home and say, “What’s the homework tonight?, Time to get started”. Seeing the importance of coming back from Mexico in time for the 1st day of school is not a given when no one in your family has graduated high school, and you can’t conceive of your child goidng to college. I could go on and on. I really have not read anything here that is ablut ‘haing on rich people’. There is frustration with ascribing LP E’s success only to the effort of the kids and parents which implies their success is totally due to factors under their control and that they are therefore more deserving. Typing blind, please excuse typos.

  • 165. HS Mom  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

    @163 Yes, income a factor. It’s not an absolute though. The greater the income does not mean the better the student performance. The greater the quality of the school, teachers, student and parent involvement the better the better the outcome. Income matters that’s why it’s a good predictor but by itself is not the determinant.

  • 166. IBobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

    NO, it’s the common factor to all the other factors you cite! Greater quality of school, better teachers, parent involvement all are infinitely easier to achieve with middle to high income. It’s easy to demonstrate why this is so. AND I am not so sure the greater the income does not mean better student performance. Being able to afford $50+ an hour for math tutoring? Enriching summer activities like mad science camp or museum camp v. being home watching TV cared for by an older sib?

  • 167. FOL  |  November 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

    “Hating on a group because they are rich takes away from the fact that these kids are motivated, doing what they are supposed to be doing and performing. They deserve their reward.”

    This is a debate about process and CPS responsibly spending the limited resources available. Every child in this City is “deserving” but the thought that one school can “earn” taxpayer resources over another school or that children at one school “deserve their reward” over children at another school is wrong, I’m sorry.

    Our leaders should be spending our tax dollars more responsibly than this. In the case of Lincoln, CPS states that current enrollment is 813 and enrollment with the annex is expected to be 873, and that 873 number includes adding pre school. $20 million to accommodate moderate overcrowding and pre school when other solutions using existing CPS resources exist?

    Don’t all the taxpayers and stakeholders in our public education system, which is pretty much every citizen of Chicago, deserve better

  • 168. HS Mom  |  November 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @166 – there are those who spend thousands to tutor for the ACT. Doesn’t mean they’ll make significant or any gain or that they’ll do better than another student who takes the test cold. These test prep companies want to sell you anything – tutoring, “GPA protection”, college essay classes. We certainly can’t afford it. There is a point that throwing money at something will not generate gains. It’s getting to that point that is the trick for everyone. It can be done without money. Maybe more difficult but you have to do what you have to do.

    @167 It doesn’t seem fair and all kids are deserving. If money was free flowing things would be different. Can’t say I agree or disagree with CPS proprieties. It does seem to me that they are trying to address a whole range of needs. It also seems to me that investing in a school where students and parents are on line with the program is a good thing.

  • 169. klm  |  November 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

    RE: achievement and family income

    The reason some/many people are so protective of Lincoln’s current enrollment zone is because it performs better than schools in the richest suburbs of Illinois, despite having lower spending per student, an overcrowded dump of a building (second grade classes in the boiler room, IEPs in closets, etc) and with a significant (no, I didn’t say ‘large’ but it really is a good percentage) number of low-income, minority kids (unlike places like Glencoe, Kenilwoth, Hinsdale, etc.).

    I know people keep talking about this Lincoln thing like it’s all about middle/upper-middle class white kids from educated households, but it’s not.

    There are lots of low-income minority kids that would be made to goo to other schools (I hate to use the term ‘worse’, but they are in terms of achievement).

    Also, I think people don’t understand how many low-income minority kids are given a chance for a better education at schools like LaSalle, Franklin, Newberry, etc., not just because of the the curriculum and teachers, but because of the neighborhood where they’re located. These schools are “local” schools to these neighborhoods in Old Town/Lincoln Park and these schools benefit enormously from the support and generosity of their neighbors, local businesses, etc. Also, one can’t forget the important factor of kids experiencing a world apart from the ‘hood and the opportunity to socialize, play and meet fellow classmates that aren’t all low-income minority kids from the ‘hood.

    Some people think that moving or just closing these schools as magnets is all that’s needed, but what about the poor, minority kids that will have to pay the price, by having to go to a worse school, or a school that won’t let get outta’ the ghetto for 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year?

    These schools relieve some the social isolation that creates the toxic atmosphere in so many low-income, minority communities.

    Going to a school with lots of middle-class white and other kids is “another world” when your current existence and frame of reference is the ghetto and can be life-changing. I’m sure schools like LaSalle (where kids come from Englewood, Lawndale and as far away as South Shore) ARE life-changing for some kids. I know they are.

    What about the black kids that currently go to Lincoln, many from the projects on North Avenue: their closest CPS neighborhood school is… Manierre? I don’t have to tell you how much their long-term life circumstances would change if they were all sent there (along with all the other low-income black kids from the projects) instead of Lincoln.

    There’s more at issue here than giving some “rich white people” money to improve their local CPS school’s facilities.

    If Lincoln doesn’t get its annex, its overcrowding problem will be thrust onto other schools and the poor minority kids from outside the neighborhood that come to school in safe, pleasant, non-gang infested Lincoln Park and Old Town everyday would be the ones that pay –one way or the other.

    I know that as a person that supports Lincoln’s annex this seems self-serving, but nonetheless, it is a fact.

  • 170. klm  |  November 26, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Also, I have to ask:

    Why weren’t so many people on this site so angry when CPS was spending or planned to spend money on improved facilities for Bell, Wildwood, Coonley, Oriole Park, Edgebrook, …… (all schools that cater to middle-class populations) and so many others?

    How is that spending on Lincoln’s annex is so “unfair”, but there has been hardly a peep about these other schools?

    For the record, I think people at Lincoln would be thrilled to have their kids have classes in portable classrooms, instead of boiler rooms and converted broom closets and instead of having to march in all weather to space rented from DePaul (and use restrooms filled with strange adults in a fairly non-secure, quasi-public building). The problem is/was that there was physically no space to do this.

    What’s up with the whole beat up on Lincoln thing some people have going? Why aren’t you calling the parents and the situation with Edgebrook or Oriole Park unfair and uncaring for the more deserving low-income CPS population? Where was the outrage when Coonley got a totally rocking makeover (when crowding wasn’t even so much an issue?)?……ETC.

    Just saying.

  • 171. NC Mom  |  November 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    NOTE: The Coonley addition is wholly funded through TIF money from the Western Avenue South TIF District, rather than from CPS or state funding.

    Crowding is definitely an issue at the school. Each year, one eight grade class graduates while there are four incoming kindergarten classes. Pre-K was moved off site this year because there weren’t enough classrooms.

  • 172. IBobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    KLM, I’m perplexed. Which posts here are “so angry”? Which ones “beat up on Lincoln people”? Are you confusing us with that meeting you attended? Seems to me we’re having a pretty thoughtful exchange of ideas. Lot of us, including myself, probably were not even aware of improvements to Edgebrook, Oriole Park etc. (I do not know enough to even have an informed opinion on the specifics of what should happen at Lincoln.)The Lincoln annex has received publicity those others did not, so the greater attention is explainable without attributing it to ‘hating on rich people’.

  • 173. LP  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    “Rahm says the schools are out of money—but not for Lincoln Park
    After closings and cuts around the city, the mayor finds $18 million for an affluent neighborhood school.” -

  • 174. LP  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “So in effect, educational policies are influenced by people looking to get the best deal possible should they decide to leave town. And you wonder why this system is so messed up.”

  • 175. karet  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm


    I am not angry about the Lincoln Annex. But, as a resident of the NW side, I can see that CPS did have other options. As others have pointed out, LaSalle could be moved, and the Lincoln boundaries split up. Furthermore, there are underutilized schools in the area. The decision seemed to be the easiest, but certainly not the most cost-effective one.

    On the NW side, 20 of the 41 schools (O’Hare Network) are overcrowded. See this article from February:

    Now, Wildwood and Oriole are getting additions. Great. Why is no one protesting? Because on the NW side, there is nowhere else for these students to go. There is no other option. Prussing is my neighborhood school. It is #18 on the overcrowded list, at 165% capacity. Two of the closest schools to me are Hitch and Beaubien (both overcrowded, at 130% and 129%). None are getting additions. Garvy recently got an annex, so at least they are not overcrowded. Other schools in the area (Canty, Smyser, Palmer for example) are bursting. I do not live in proximity for ANY magnet school (Thorp is the closest).

    Finally, I don’t really understand your argument that the tier 1 and 2 kids benefit from the location of LaSalle. Sure, it’s a nice neighborhood. Do you think they learn more because the school is surrounded by expensive real estate? Why would the quality of their education plummet if the location was changed?

  • 176. Rod Estvan  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Re klm: Discussion of the positive impact of having low income children educated with higher income children. I agree with that and so does the educational research. But Lincoln School’s data does not.

    In 2000 23.1% of the students at Lincoln were considered low income and by 2013 that percentage had dropped to 12.7%. So using the ISBE data in the 2013 there were 99 low income kids at Lincoln School that got what we can call the association with the more wealthy boost. But back in 2000 there were 132 low income kids at Lincoln School when there was a far lower total enrollment than in 2013 getting that boost.

    The growth in the Lincoln School population has been exclusively among those students who are not formally considered to be low income. To see this data go to then go to classic IIRC type in Lincoln look at the pull down titled “school environment” go to “about students” then go to “student characteristics.” In order to get the total enrollment for Lincoln in 2000 you have to go to CPS

    Rod Estvan

  • 177. cps alum  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @KLM-170–The difference is that some of these schools are for the most part within their original boundaries without magnet schools bordering their boundaries. There just aren’t any magnet schools to move to provide additional neighborhood options (Edison was that building and it was moved 6 years ago).

    While it is true that Wildwood is a magnet, it is not like other magnets. It must accept every student within its attendance boundary (different from a proximity lottery). I personally felt that CPS should have explored the impact of eliminating the magnet option of Wildwood to see if that would solve the overcrowding before doing the addition, but I suspect that the school would have needed an addition anyway.

  • 178. cpsobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    for anyone who was interested in that Daniel Hertz article about the schools he identified as growing in income/gentrification (2010-2013) and also in test scores his list is in the link above. The schools are:


  • 179. FOL  |  November 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Chicago Reader weighs in on the matter. With all due respect to Mr. Jarovsky, the original plan from 2011, which you can read in the archives of CPS Obsessed, did not remove any child from the school where they were currently enrolled. It redrew attendance boundaries affecting future students and it did not offer a definitive answer addressing siblings. Less than 24 hours after the plan was announced to Lincoln and LaSalle families only (not residents of the attendance boundary as a whole) the Alderman said she would fight the plan, you can read that in the cpso archives too.

  • 180. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  November 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Developing the Children’s Memorial Hospital (CMH) site into residential and some commercial space would mean more residents. To get tax abatements, some portion of the units will be low/middle-income housing. Initial plans called for residential high-rises. Existing Lincoln Elementary overcrowding meant that the development was on hold until they could find a way to avoid further overcrowding with an influx of new children. Preventing a Lincoln annex, separate middle school building, or new school entirely was the linchpin for neighbors opposed to high-rises (and some also opposed to low-income residents). With the Lincoln overcrowding problem solved, the development can proceed. The process by which the overcrowding was solved — mayoral fiat — did nothing to help matters.

  • 181. cpsobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    jeez,how many times are people going to bring up that some schools don’t have enough toilet paper as part of an argument not to fund anything else (ie Reader Article.) Okay, let’s spend all the money on toilet paper and not fund anything else.

  • 182. LP  |  November 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Toiletpaper is a bellweather issue. One of my kids has come home many times jammed up with poop because she won’t go at school because there is no TP or she’s embarassed to ask her teacher for handsoap – because then ‘everyone’ will know she went poop.

  • 183. cpsobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I will have my child get in touch. He has never pooped at school in 5.5 years!

    No, that is really horrible. And though small, I’d be on the case of the school.

    I just get cranky at Ben J’s reporting style.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 184. LUV2Europe  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    177 Not many kids at Wilwood from outside neighborhood. If they all left, the school would still be extremely overcrowded.

  • 185. cpsobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    So would the “best” solution to have been to move Lasalle and split the Lincoln district? With the phase-in, that means that the “new LaSalle” would phase in as well, so highly under-utilized initially, correct? Or perhaps they could accept students in some higher grades?

    I envision the same “wasting money that could be spent on other schools” argument for that option too, no?

  • 186. Angie  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    @185. cpsobsessed: “So would the “best” solution to have been to move Lasalle and split the Lincoln district? With the phase-in, that means that the “new LaSalle” would phase in as well, so highly under-utilized initially, correct? Or perhaps they could accept students in some higher grades?”

    What about phasing it in at some other school, like they did with LaSalle II? Not Manierre, though. Are there any underutilized, mediocre schools located in the safe neighborhoods that could use this magnet program to improve? I’m thinking of the way Hamilton used to be, before it turned into a popular school.

  • 187. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    It’s hard to imagine how over time the total costs of running 3 buildings currently owned by CPS could exceed the cost of running 2 buildings, keeping the third empty, and building a new annex.

  • 188. cpsobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Or to paraphrase, what option would result in nobody complaining?

  • 189. HSObsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    @171 – You talk about TIF money like it’s free money that’s coming out of nowhere? TIFs are just special funds in which tax revenue is kept locally to improve the neighborhood. Coonley and Bell are fortunate to be in an area that was in need of help a decade or two ago (certainly less so now, so the necessity of actually having a TIF is very open to debate). If you look at the TIF map of Chicago, there IS NO TIF district anywhere close to Lincoln ES that can be tapped into. Meaning, $0 of the tax revenue generated by all the residents and businesses close to Lincoln is kept in a special fund; it is instead all turned over to the general coffers of the city, that is, CPS, with the understanding that it will be invested in the area when necessary, like to build a much-needed annex.

  • 190. HSObsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    @188 – None of the above.

  • 191. MD  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    @178 looking at the list I note Ravenswood on the list. Ravenswood neighborhood has not benefited from gentrification as suggested. Rather, parents in the neighborhood are finally starting to see it as a viable option & have begun to send their kids to Ravenswood. Previously, (and I’m sure based on the number of low income still noted) most kids attending were out of district. I’m sure this is true for several of the other schools on the list as well.

    ISAT ?- any news on what the replacement for the ISATs will be for SEHS’s admission scores?

  • 192. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm


  • 193. LincolnParentNumber5000  |  November 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    #185 I am one of many Lincoln parents who would have been okay with that solution as opposed to the solution initially presented (a phase-in of neighborhood kids into LaSalle and a slow, painful, likely contentious, possibly hostile and unwanted — by LaSalle parents — transition into a neighborhood school).

    Yet CPS argued that moving LaSalle wasn’t inexpensive, either. Also, LaSalle parents argued that the school would not thrive in another neighborhood. (I call “B.S.” on that as I”m sure there are “wealthy” neighborhoods that would love LaSalle to call their neighborhood home.)

    But it speaks to what KLM has argued. Lincoln does get the ire (or we’ll just flat-out call it, “anger”) of others. Very wealthy Lincoln Parkers (living in the Lincoln District) stand up and advocate for keeping LaSalle in Old Town and are cheered. Wealthy Lincoln parents standing up for their neighborhood school are booed. Parents taking away valuable magnet seats when they have an amazing option? Cheered. Parents supporting their neighborhood school? Booed.

    Yet, that said, I just want to move on. I am okay with the annex solution. We can’t all get everything we want. I just crave resolution and can’t wait for the day we don’t have to discuss this any longer.

  • 194. IBobsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    @192, that’s what I heard also, but nothing official from CPS. Makes sense that it would be NWEA and not ISAT, since in other districts scores on the common core based tests drop significantly. If a 7th grade NWEA scores ended up higher than ISATs, imagine the no. of phone calls to central office regarding which should be used for HS admissions. Talk about ire.

  • 195. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    @193 Where and when did CPS argue against moving LaSalle because of expense?

  • 196. yetanotherLincolnParent  |  November 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    @194 My understanding is that it will eventually be the PARCC but until that is implemented they will use NWEA. And yes, the percentiles will have to be lowered in order to give the same share of students an opportunity to apply to SEHSs.

  • 197. LincolnParentNumber5000  |  November 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    #195. Sorry. I probably used the wrong words. But, this was back BEFORE so many schools were closed. So “they” (can’t be sure it was CPS or LaSalle or Lincoln parents, so forgive me) were saying it was millions to move the school. Seriously. Again, this was before there were so many empty school buildings and so many schools moving already.

    However, you know CPS (and the city for that matter). What would normally cost thousands costs hundreds of thousands. What normally would cost hundreds of thousands costs millions.

    I remember it being said that building a new building for Lincoln was cheaper than renovating an older building at Children’s, too. I guess renovation of an old building to 2013 standards is expensive as opposed to knocking down and starting from scratch? I am not a contractor. But maybe it’d be good to be one for CPS? LOL.

  • 198. anonymouse teacher  |  November 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    @196, as I understand it from my principal, NWEA and PARCC will both be used next year.(PARCC will not replace NWEA–it will be those two plus all the other tests kids have to take depending on grade level—REACH, Access, ISEL, TRC, Dibels, Oral Fluency, Mclass Math, explore, MPG, benchmark assessments, the Algrebra test, and more)
    Fwiw, PARCC is a multistep test (meaning it is administered multiple times per year taking a long time just like NWEA does). My school is looking closely at this issue. Right now, all technology instruction is suspended for nearly half the year, because that’s how long it takes to get all of our K-8 kids through the lab and all the different sessions. Plus our bandwidth is weak and the entire lab will shut down during the testing, so all the tests have to frequently be re-administered. And no one in the entire school is allowed to check email or use the internet for anything at all while testing is being conducted to try and prevent overloading the system. Next year, our tech person has told us we can expect to spend 35+ weeks on PARCC and NWEA. There will be no tech instruction at all. Unless we use our laptops instead, but then, in that case, the classroom teacher will give the test and whichever classes go to “tech” will be in the lab, but they won’t be allowed to use the computers. I don’t even bother to plan any lessons with the internet anymore nor will I use our laptops. Either there’s testing, and we aren’t allowed to use the internet or they are broken, the system is down or something else is wrong with them.
    I was under the impression CPS has not decided yet which test it will use for SEHS placement.

  • 199. FOL  |  November 27, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Oh what a difference two years can make or does it?. CPS still has no money, almost criminal overcrowding in some schools still exists, schools in or near the Lincoln district are still “good” and underutilized, this is still about real estate values, these are still desperate times for CPS…….except now CPS has closed 50 other schools, laid off hundreds if not thousands of teachers, clerks and now engineers, desperate times for CPS, the City and the State continue with lower bond ratings and enormous budget deficits. So I guess the question remains “how can anybody in Lincoln Park expect CPS to build them a new school facility when so many other CPS schools are even more seriously overcrowded?”.

    23. klm | December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    OK, I’m a Lincoln Elementary person, luckily a NOA (north of Armitage), so we won’t have to change our neighborhood school like the SOAs.
    I was at the Lincoln LSC meeting on Tues. Yes, it’s sad that a school like Lincoln has become a victim of its own success. Ask anybody in the neighborhood with kids why they moved there and they’ll tell you it was for Lincoln Elementary (even neighborhood people I know that send their kids to Latin, Parker, Sacred Heart, City Day, etc., wanted a good “safety school” as a backup plan). Wouldn’t it be great to have a new, larger building or maybe an annex for the middle school grade at the closed Lincoln Park Hospital or accross the street at Children’s Hospital which will move Downtown this summer? Yes, obviously.
    BUT DREAM ON –CPS HAS NO MONEY TO BUILD in order to solve this problem. Period.
    Not to mention the almost criminal overcrowding in some (mainly Hispanic, working and low-income) neighborhoods. How can anybody in Lincoln Park expect CPS to build them a new school facility when so many other CPS schools are even more seriously overcrowded?
    It seems to me that given the financial contraints currently facing CPS (and virtually every other public school system in this country today –yes, including the suburbs of Chicago [the grass is NOT always greener]) this is the least bad solution in the painful decison to FINALLY solve this problem.
    CPS is keeping familes in the Lincoln School district in “good” schools. LaSalle will be another quasi-Lincoln Elementary (great ISATs and all), just with a different name. Imagine if the boundaries for Maniere (a no-way-in hell school by anybody’s consideration) were moved north of North Avenue (which from a purely business point of view probably makes most sense for CPS, in term of finances and filling extra capity, etc.). Talk about howling and For Sale signs galore, combined with an almost immediate 10-15% reduction in real estate value for “family” homes. LaSalle will no longer be a lottery magnet starting next year, but LaSalle II will be adding an extra class for K.
    It is a genuine shame that LaSalle will no longer be a magnet and provide opportunity for kids from all over the city, but these really are desperate times for CPS, financially.
    CPS officals at the Lincoln LSC meeting more or less let it be know that if there was the money, they’s gladly build and spend their way out of this problem, but there isn’t so they’ve tried to come up with the best deal that they can in order keep families in “good” schools. I have to appreciate that, as should any parent.
    Change sucks in this case, but considering the dire CPS finances, I challenge anybody to come up with a solution that’s more fair and equitable.”

  • 200. AlwaysObsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 7:28 am

    So you can move a magnet;,0,7656066.story

  • 201. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    #200, wow, those are some serious moves. So yes, it clearly can and IS being done.

  • 202. JLM  |  November 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Could someone post a link to the data showing CPS school utilization (percent overcrowded)? I can’t find it. Thanks!

  • 203. IBobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    JLM, I wanted the same data after I read about Frazier. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Populations in the low 20s all the way up to middle school and then only 25?? Isn’t that underutilization? And they get a new building to expand? Their academic performance is undeniably very good. (At least on the surface based on reported stats) That class size in the primary grades is like private independent school. Good! Lots of individual attention for at risk kids. I don’t begrudge them that. I don’t even begruge them more space. But equitable treatment of charters and neighborhood schools please.

  • 204. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Is this it?

  • 205. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Oh wait, that was 2010-11.

  • 206. HS Mom  |  November 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    @203 Isn’t Fraizer a magnet? Looks like they are looking to expand the successful magnet by relocating the charter. Am I missing something here.

  • 207. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Score! Scroll down about half way to the file called:

    CPS Space Utilization and Enrollment Data for School Year 2012-2013

  • 208. IBobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    @206, Neighborhood schools are closed for supposed ‘underutilization’ (low # of students or class size per units of space). Charter schools get to expand even though their class sizes appear to indicate what CPS has called ‘underutilization’. = Favoritism of charters? I am only raising this as a question at this point. Fact checking is needed regarding the formula CPS used to conclude a school is underutilized.

  • 209. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Maybe I’m not understanding, but I thought it means the charter part is moving to shared space so they can expand the magnet portion (not neighborhood expansion, but also not charter expansion.) Unless it means that they both can expand, which I can’t tell from the article.

    It’s a puzzling set up. Magnet and Charter in same building? Magnet is level 1, charter is level 3. Hm.

    The district is proposing moving Frazier Preparatory Academy, a K-8 charter school at 4027 W. Grenshaw St., to a shared space with Herzl Elementary at 3711 W. Douglas Blvd. That will allow Frazier International Magnet Elementary School, a high-standing magnet school that now shares space with Frazier Prep, to enroll more students, the district said.

  • 210. IBobsessed  |  November 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Ok, I misunderstood HS Mom’s point and was confused by the article. The Magnet is expanding, and it’s unclear if the charter will gain seats by moving to Herzl. They both have low class sizes. Frazier Int’l Magnet has low class sizes by design. (Website says they receive 4 aps for every seat, so that cap of low 20s is planned.) Frazier Prep, the charter, (with a much lower meets/exceeds %) has low class sizes also. They average in the low 20s until 5th grade, and never exceed 30. II I wonder how this compares with the closed neigborhood schools?

  • 211. LEC  |  November 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t recall the class sizes at the closed schools being published. From what I remember hearing in the news, they were all over the place.

    Class size us determined by the number of students, the available funds for teachers & the number of classrooms available. If there are only 33 kids in a grade, they’ll likely be in one overcrowded class.

    The Tribune published an interesting table with the total number if students in each school:

  • 212. anonymouse teacher  |  November 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I can only imagine that the two schools mentioned above are keeping class sizes low by sacrificing some pretty other major things. In the charter, they can make it work by paying their teachers significantly less and making them work significantly more and I would imagine they don’t have as many specials teachers. I wonder how the magnet will do it? Will they get rid of music and art? We are all on a per-pupil funding basis now. Its pretty impossible to go to a 1:20 ratio. I guess they could have 1 clerk do the job of 2 and not have an assistant principal (wonder how the principal will do all those evals though?) and just not buy any supplies or books ever. I’d die to see how they do it budget wise. My school can’t do it even just in kindergarten and even if we could, there’s no place to put another classroom unless I had 20 kids in the hall, which, I suppose, is a realistic possibility in CPS.

  • 213. neighborhood parent  |  November 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    212 – there’s more…. to this Frazier formula
    they have more days (192)
    longer day 8-3:30
    teacher bonuses
    focus on testing for perf measurement
    looping the teachers with classes over mult years

    its not really a typical magnet, it operates as a “contract” school
    so does this add up to a Charter in disguise?

  • 214. karet  |  November 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    JML, There is also a list of overcrowded CPS schools (organized with most overcrowded at the top) starting on page 37 of this:

  • 215. anonymouse teacher  |  November 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Is it an AUSL school? Or who can comment more specifically on what it means to be a contract school? I’ve heard that term tossed around and I don’t know what it means.

  • 216. JLM  |  November 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Interesting that there are a bunch of charters on the overcrowded list, when they should be able to control their population, like a magnet or selective enrollment school.

  • 217. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    213. neighborhood parent | November 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I think that is the formula for the Frazier Prep~Charter School not the Frazier International Magnet School.

  • 218. klm  |  November 28, 2013 at 10:44 am

    @FOL -199

    Yes, we were told at the initial meeting from the head CPS honcho that CPS didn’t have two nickels to rub together for any capital improvements. Things were presented as dire, dire, dire –we don’t even know where we’ll get the money to run CPS next year, so don’t even think for a second that an improvement to Lincoln’s facilities is possible, Plus, there are some schools even more crowded in low-income Hispanic neighborhoods, so how would that look –even if we had the money, which we most certainly don’t? There’s nothing else we can do, so get used to it. This is your reality.

    Well, guess what happened? LaSalle as a community raised hell at the idea of closing their school to fix Lincoln’s problems. Alcott’s LSC and wider community let everybody know that excess capacity is in higher grades only –there are hundreds out-of-district people that apply and can’t get in due to lack of space, plus they fpointed out that that their “integral” pre-K program is not used in the K-8 body count, but it has/needs its own space, too, etc. Oscar Meyer said the same thing.

    Oh, yeah, there has since been dozens of facility improvements (30-something from what I’ve counted) announced and/or implemented at CPS schools all over the city (including ones without so many low-income kids –Bell, Edgebrook, Oriole Park, …..somebody at Blaine told me about its plan for increasing classroom space) since then.

    The local alderman has made creating more classroom space at Lincoln her top priority, due to the huge response of her constituents, including people from LaSalle, Alcott, Oscar Meyer, etc that didn’t want their schools messed with/possibly dissolved because of Lincoln’s overcrowding problem. Yes, there are some not in favor, but it really is the same vocal people (2 dozen or so –their names are always the same ones in newspapers, WBEZ, meetings, etc., but they insist half on Lincoln Park is on its side).

    CPS has subsequently let people know that it wants to support its most academically successful schools and help them going forward in order to help improve things for all CHicago children, etc. –all this from CPS people at LSC meetings, BOE meetings, etc

    There was a $300m state bond issued t(from future gambling funds) to build/improve public school facilities in Illinois, Chicago’s share is $100m. This is one of several state/federal sources CPS has found to announce capital improvement since that .

    Yes, I’ve changed my tune, but only because the circumstances have changed. A lot. If Lincoln were the only CPS school to be getting a capital improvement, I’d maybe be thinking differently now.

    But it’s not –far from it.

    Things really did change that much in two years, so I’ve changed my opinion accordingly, too.

    When there was no money, I tried to understand and be fair. Now that there has been money to build desperately needed classrooms for my local overcrowded public school (and many other CPS schools, too) , I’m now in favor of that.

    Throw stones if you want.


  • 219. SL  |  November 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    FOL @199,

    BRAVO!!! you just showed the hypocrisy of WALE :-). Good job, you made my day.

  • 220. klm  |  December 2, 2013 at 11:36 am


    I think this thread has kinda’ died out, but I’m going to respond.

    There is no “gotcha” moment or hypocrisy here. .

    In 2011, I was told by the powers to be at CPS that there was no money for Lincoln’s much-needed improvement to alleviate overcrowding. I believed what I heard and tried to come to terms with it, like I would if somebody told be about any fact that can’t be changed –in a rational, come-to-terms way without trying to get too upset over something I had no control over. I’d have supported a new annex but I was made to believe it was impossible. I was told that there was absolutely no money for ANY school in CPS be fixed in that way..

    In 2013, CPS, the mayor, the Board of Education ….announced that through state funding sources (not local) there’s money to build an annex for Lincoln. So, yes, now I’m all for that. Dozens of CPS schools –including many in poor, minority neighborhoods– have also, since 2011, been given resources to build/improve facilities, alleviate overcrowding, increase enrollment, etc. Lincoln is not being singled out here at the expense of lots of other schools. If there are still overcrowded, highly successful in terms of academics CPS schools that can’t easily have their enrollments reduced without creating havoc for families and other schools (like Lincoln), I hope that they also get facility upgrades,too. LaSalle can stay LaSalle, Alcott, Newberry, and Meyer can do their own thing own thing (which is what the LSCs at all those schools want and it’s what most families at those schools want also) they way they want and have planned, etc.

    I don’t belong to WALE, never get their emails or whatever, never gave them a penny…..

    I’ve gone to the meetings, heard what the same people (and they always are the same people that are almost bizarrely fixated on this issue to the point that are convinced that all they have to say is The Real Truth, even when good, factual reasons for the annex are given as counterpoints) that have the same bullet points (see above). Some people I knew that were open-minded and willing to listen to their concerns have told me that they now think many of those.same people seem stridently inflexible on any point, even when there are really good reasons for supporting the annex. They come across as petty, NIMBY doomsayers, purposely blind to the most important issue (the education of children) because they personally don’t want anything to change, no matter the cascading negative effect it could have on kids, their families, public education in Chicago, the retention of its middle-class, the opportunities existing magnets provide low-income minority kids, etc.

    We’re talking about a wonderful, academically successful neighborhood public school improving its facilities when there’s no other easy option to deal with its serious overcrowding and out-dated infrastructure issues, here. It’s NOT a plot to destroy the neighborhood or seriously affect its quality of life to make somebody richer through an unscrupulous commercial deal.

    There is no nefarious plot.

    There’s a majority consensus from many places (most [I did not say all, but most] Lincoln/LaSalle/Alcott/Whatever Else School Affected parents, the mayor, the Alderman, the Board of Education….) that the annex is the best solution to keep Lincoln intact, relieve its awful overcrowding, not negatively affect many other CPS schools that don’t want to be destroyed or adversely affected, etc…thus keeping as many places at viable-for-parents-that-want-good-schools-without-moving-away-from-Chicago at CPS schools and in the city, which is in turn good for the neighborhood, the city and –in the long run–everybody else that cares about Chicago and its long-term viability..

    All the points that the anti-annex people keeping clinging to and bringing up can seem relatively petty and oblivious as to all the negative impact that would ensue to the The Big Picture relating to public education in Chicago and regarding its viability in terms of attracting/keeping non-low-income families,supporting and building upon proven success (as anybody on this site know is not something that can be taken for granted with CPS schools) in public education, etc.

    It would be gluing the horse back together to mention all their points against the annex and point out why their concerns are overblown or just plain wrong, so I won’t.

    Anyway, it sounds like the annex is a done deal, so it’s practically a moot subject at this point.


  • 221. HS Mom  |  December 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    This seems like a good spot for this article

    “As young workers start families, they may care more about soccer fields and good schools than sushi restaurants and bike paths, priorities that may send them out of the urban core.

    But the employers that sought them out in the city are unlikely to follow them back to the suburbs, said Mr. Phillips of the Urban Land Institute.

    “Given energy prices and traffic conditions, it’ll be a long time before we see another wave of suburbanization.””

  • 222. claire  |  December 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    you all understand that if lincoln had its boundaries redrawn and 150-200 lincoln kids were reassigned to a different neighborhood school, that school’s test scores would go up, right? and probably become another coveted school?

    as a previous poster said, something has got to change eventually with the boundaries. why not start making another school as great as lincoln? you already have the invested families, which is 2/3 the battle. yes, nettlehorst crew did some great things with revitalizing that school, but what made the test scores go up was the influx of middle class parents that followed the trend. test scores are reflective of the communities they serve, and are not necessarily indicative of the quality of a school (which is why I cringed at LPdad’s condemnation of manierre).

    i personally think that lasalle should become a neighborhood school and manierre’s boundaries should be redrawn to include more diversity. it sucks to be the first ones to be uprooted but it’s for the greater good. i also feel- maybe wrongly- that the parents crying out against boundaries being redrawn were the ones OK with south/west side school closings, and i am MUCH less worried about the long term effects of moving schools on lincoln park kids. sorry.

    can we take a min to acknowledge how great it is that there is so much demand for neighborhood schools?!

  • 223. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  December 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    i personally think that lasalle should become a neighborhood school

    What about the current magnet students at LaSalle? LaSalle is at 103% of capacity now with 556 students. Add another 200 and you’ve bumped the school up to 136% of capacity, making it overcrowded. The problem is just pushed out of Lincoln Park. You would need to expel the out-of-boundary LaSalle students back to their neighborhoods to prevent the over-crowding. Either that, or eliminate the magnet status entirely and hope that without the magnet-funded language programs there (Italian, Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish) most of the out-of-boundary students would not want to be grand-fathered into the school.

    Or maybe, the LaSalle building could become a new neighborhood school for the current Lincoln south of Armitage area and the LaSalle admin, faculty, and students could take over Manierre, which I’m sure Manierre parents would love having just fought tooth and nail to prevent their school from being closed. Or should they be co-located, which I’m also sure they would appreciate? Finally, Manierre will get the $7 million in non-program renovations it needs, and millions more spent to prep the LaSalle occupied area for its program-related needs. I’m sure the Manierre parents would think that was fair.

    The only reasonable solution would be to leave LaSalle alone and just have those in the current Lincoln zone south of Armitage trek to Manierre. Sure it will be a longer trip for half of them than it was to Lincoln, but they could use the exercise. And the great thing is that CPS could save lots of money: no overhaul at Lincoln and Manierre would still be under-utilized with only 200 more students on top of 350 in a building that could hold 960 “ideally”. So there would be no point pumping any more money into such an under-used facility. With such a lose-lose proposition, I just can’t think of why that solution didn’t fly.

  • 224. OTdad  |  December 10, 2013 at 1:05 am

    @222 claire:
    That’s a whole lot of wishful thinking. Lincoln solution is a done deal, what’s the point.

    “… that the parents crying out against boundaries being redrawn were the ones OK with south/west side school closings, …”
    I don’t get what could possibly connect the 2 together.

  • 225. klm  |  December 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm


    I think you miss LP Dad’s point about Manierre. There are schools with lots of low-income urban kids that beat the odds, have created a culture of excellence that gets families involved, that are oasis’ of calm and safety in otherwise unsafe and troubled neighborhoods, the kids are motivated and want to learn, etc. –I think here in Chicago, Chopin’s a prime example. I’m sure there are others. Some charters do a stellar job, too.

    The problems with a school like Manierre are more than socio-economics. If the level of learning is so void of real rigor, so that no student in any subject in any grade gets in the “exceeds” level in any subject on the ISAT (which was the case at Manierre when I was checking it out a while back), there’s a real problem. I know that people in its enrollment area often try to avoid having to send their kids there, hoping for a magnet (LaSalle and Franklin are popular due to their proximity) or other school option. Then there’s the whole gang territory thing, which is a real concern, not some exajerated fact that exists only in the mind of middle-class parents that live north of North Avenue. I don’t mean to pick on Manierre, but I think it’s a prime example of a school that’s so broken, only a closure and replacement with something new is the only hope for real change. Of course, I’d love for it to be a school that adequately prepares its charges for life-long success, but the reality is so glaringly the opposite that I think it’s almost criminal to act like things would be fine, if only there were some middle-class kids enrolled.

    I guess Englewood would be a really great neighborhood if only more rich people weren’t so prejudiced. No, it’s not the violence, the gun shots, open-air criminality, dysfunctional family structures and the constant fear of crime of all sorts that keep people away –it’s the petty concerns of middle-class people and their inability to understand that most people in Englewood are decent. Same for Manierre, I guess. No, its not its abysmal test scores, the public rallies to keep its students from merging with Jenner to prevent violent territory and gang conflict –no, no, it’s just pettiness and an inability to understand that any school will be like Lincoln, if only more middle-class people would just enroll their kids.

    Like many of us here, I’ve volunteered at some really lousy inner-city schools (I didn’t say ALL inner-city schools are lousy, just the few with which I’m familiar). Their biggest flaw is an almost complete lack of rigor, often even for the kids that want it, since lessons have to be geared to the largest number of kids when there’s no time, staff or will to differentiate. Kids are spoon fed facts for exams (and even then many kids still fail), there’s a push to keep kids from flunking, so the standard for what is a passing grade is almost unbelievably (and tragically) lowered to keep kids from dropping out or having to repeat a grade. I mean, anybody that reads about urban public education knows this. Inner-city black kids are years (I read once 4 years by 8th grade) behind their white suburban peers, on average. I want to cry when I think about what 8th-grade kids at Manierrre, vs. 8th-grade kids at Lincoln or any school in the North Shore. If schools are technically just as good, but for the reticence of middle-class people to enroll their kids there, how’s this possible?

    There are no easy answers here, but the reason people don’t want their kids enrolled at a school like Manierre is that they don’t want them to be 4 years behind kids in Northbrook and Naperville in 8th grade.

    Also, I know most people think Lincoln’s success is due to its demographics, plain and simple. But it’s not. I hate to say other schools aren’t “as good” as Lincoln, but I’ve known quite a few people that have sent their kids to other CPS schools, but they tell me it’s not the same. I’ve heard people say, “what’s so magic about Lincoln that it can’t be replicated at any school”? I don’t know exactly what the “magic” is, but I do know that Lincoln’s got it and most other schools don’t. The white kids at Lincoln do measurably better than white kids in Kenilworth and Lake Forest (or any other public school in any city, rich or poor, in IL) on the ISAT, for example (I’m not making this up, I checked on the old IIRC site a few months back, when data for ‘exceeds’ by race was available). Obviously, its pedagogy and curriculum have been honed to a degree of success most other schools would do well to emulate, IMHO. .

    I’m guessing that the reason Lincoln’s such a great school is because it’s been trying (and succeeding) since the 70s to replicate the rigor and standards of even the best private schools. I don’t blame people living in the Lincoln enrollment zone for not wanting their kids zoned to another school. They’re not being petty or snobbish, they just want their kids to go to a school with a proven record –isn’t that what we all want for our kids?

    The annex will keep more places at “good” (as in measured by what kids are learning) CPS schools, which is what Chicago needs to keep its middle-class families enrolled in CPS schools and staying in the city. It seems counter-intuitive to some people, but supporting schools like Lincoln (or Edgebrook, Oriole Park, Bell, etc) helps out even low-income Chicagoans in the long run, since a larger non-low-income population supports and provides opportunity for those that need it the most. It sucks to be poor anywhere, but does anybody deny that maybe it’s better to be poor in Chicago than, say, Detroit? At least poor people in Chicago can get on a train or bus and visit other parts of the city or attend public schools (magnets, etc.) that aren’t awful.

    If schools with proven track records, that have earned their reputations as bastions of genuine academic excellence, and act as magnets for keeping and attracting non-low-income families in Chicago are given the tools (like Lincoln’s annex) to keep on being successful, then that’s a good thing. Would people rather middle-class families just move to the suburbs (because that’s what they’ll do if CPS keeps changing their kids’ schools as soon as the good ones become victims of their own success) and leave only low-income kids in CPS in a greater “ghetto-fication” ? Rewarding success does not mean taking away, it means investing in what already works.

    By all means, we need to improve and keep moving towards a better educational outcome for kids in Chicago. But what’s wrong with supporting schools that are already successful? .

  • 226. cpsobsessed  |  December 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Status posted today:

    At their meeting today, Chicago Public Building Commission unanimously approved CPS Board request to begin planning, design, and construction of annex. Also approved appointment of Muller + Muller as Architect for the project. Forward…

  • 227. claire  |  December 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Just saying- If your kid went to Manierre, he/she would not be 4 years behind. The kids who are “4 years behind” (as you claim, seems extreme) are dealing with a whole slew of obstacles that I assume your child is not dealing with.

    I realize that there are special schools. I grew up in one. I’m just saying that the facts are: CPS is broke, Lincoln is overcrowded, and there is an underutlized school nearby. The problem will only continue to grow. CPS has made it clear that it’s “all about the bottom line” when shifting kids around so I think that should at least be an equal opportunity policy. I think a merger of Manierre and Lincoln families- don’t shoot!- could actually be a really cool thing and benefit both student bodies. Maybe even bring over some Lincoln teachers and have them help spread the magic? In 10 years it could be the new “hot” school.

    You’re right OT dad- it’s obviously a moot point. There’s really no point over arguing over anything CPS does. But do you really not see how a multimillion dollar annex for a wealthy neighborhood school might not ruffle feathers while CPS is crying fiscal disaster and shutting schools down? When combined with the Payton annex it just looks and smells horrible. Yes, ideally you would help good schools continue to thrive. That sounds wonderful and right! While you’re simultaneously closing schools in poor neighborhoods for financial reasons, however, it seems like a social justice issue.

  • 228. LPNeighbor  |  December 11, 2013 at 7:15 am

    @227 Claire, I could not agree with you more. I also don’t see the “magic” that is Lincoln. Test scores are good, sure, but isn’t testing something “we”, the parents in the City who are promoting fair and equitable funding, questioning? If you are talking testing, and you argue that it is not only what comes into Lincoln that matters, then it would stand to reason that if you moved all of the teachers and admin and smart boards from Lincoln into Manierre or Jenner you would get the same results. I just don’t think that would happen.

    Just for the sake of conversation, here’s an idea. I know those from WALE, the We Are Lincoln Elementary group, that fought so hard for Lincoln’s expansion, will respond that all other schools cannot be involved etc. etc, all of this has been vetted (though I disagree with that), it does nothing to relieve immediate overcrowding yada yada yada…. But it would be interesting to get broader opinions, particularly those from the LaSalle community. As it stands right now, the Lincoln annex is a pretty poor example of urban planning and looking toward the future. There is a very good chance that in 10 to 15 years the Tribune could be writing an article about Lincoln’s expansion as it did about Peabody just a few days ago. As someone above mentioned, redrawing boundaries will need to happen eventually to meet the shifting demographics.

    Let’s ignore the CPS budget issue for a moment. Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the $15 to $20 million to relieve overcrowding stayed in Lincoln Park. What if there was a plan accomplished the following:

    What if no child or future sibling was forced to leave the school where they were currently enrolled.

    What if Lincoln could retain it’s open space and playground and see decreased traffic and congestion.

    What if LaSalle’s magnet seats and magnet status were retained.

    What if Lincoln and LaSalle each become bigger schools, but neither has the capacity to be over 1,000 children.

    What if LaSalle became a magnet with a neighborhood attendance boundary so the children from Old Town could have access to a school within walking distance.

    What if LaSalle could finally have the space for assemblies that it has been raising money for for years.

    What if the addition was built at LaSalle?

  • 229. klm  |  December 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm


    I don’t blame you one bit for being cynical about people saying Lincoln’s got the “magic.” People are always saying how their kid’s school is so great, “the best”, etc. –all these people can’t have schools in the top 1%.

    I will also assume you haven’t had kids at other schools and Lincoln to make comparisons, either. Otherwise I’m pretty sure you’d not be so casual when talking about its academic success as some kind of vainglorious banter Lincoln parents like to use to justify the annex..

    I think lots of schools get kids in the early grades on the right path, but Lincoln keeps most kids academically sharp, relatively speaking, into middle-school (which is where lots of kids/schools seem to start flailing, relatively speaking). Its science curriculum really is objectively great.

    Not all parents are anti-test. It seems to me that one can’t change what one doesn’t measure.

    People can say what they want about test scores, but it doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the kids who do best on them seem to be the most prepared for a rigorous HS or college education (not to mention getting the points for a CPS SE HS admissions–not easy for a Tier 4 –or a good score on the ISEE for Parker, Latin, Lab, British School, SICP, Roycemore, etc.). Achievement tests like the ISAT aren’t just about filling in bubbles (especially now that they’re more ‘Common Core’ centered), kids really have to KNOW how to think like a little scientist to do well on the science section, etc. How is it that a school like Lincoln rocks in school rankings if its kids aren’t learning more than at some other school? The ISAT isn’t an I.Q. test. Maybe it really is a school where kids learn more than other schools.

    I know some people hate achievement tests because, on average, low-income and minority kids don’t do as well on them, so they seem “unfair” to some –not me (and I have black kids). I’m of the school of “if low-income and minority kids are doing poorly on a measurable achievement exam, let’s do something about the achievement gap, not dismiss the test as ‘unfair’ because we don’t like the results.”

    Go to Lincoln Park High School. The remedial classes are all full of minority kids (many from Manierre and Jenner) that are doing math and language classes most kids at Lincoln were doing in 5th and 6th grade. The IB and AP classes are mostly white and Asian. This come straight from a friend that works there. What do you want to bet there’s a strong correlation between ISATs and the ability of kids to handle math, science and language arts at an appropriate level?

    Lincoln is not a “perfect” school school (is there any such place?) –some teachers clash with certain kids’ personalities, classes are big, kids who need lots of individual attention might not get it, etc. However, as far as public schools go (especially CPS ones), it really is a gem.

    There’;s a reason why people pay a premium for a family-size home in its enrollment district as opposed to the same house across the street. People aren’t stupid.

    Even if people only want to keep Lincoln’s current enrollment district to protect their home’s value…well that’s kinda’ a good reason, too for anybody for whom their home is their biggest investment.

    I have friends whose Lincoln kids have gone to other schools in the city (including some of the “name” private ones) and suburbs (ones with the ‘best schools’) before Lincoln and they are not at all displeased with Lincoln’s academics. Most are genuinely delighted.

    Also, CPS has closed down schools/consolidated ones that were underutilized because enrollment dropped and they were often 50-70+% empty. If Lincoln only had 150 or 200 kids, I’m sure CPS would maybe have considered the same, but instead it’s bursting. The reason Newberry and LaSalle were turned into magnets is because they were underutilized in the 70s (back when people used to score drugs on Armitage, not shop for $20 bars of soap there). Lots of people with kids that want to use public schools have moved to Lincoln Park. Lots of people with kids that want to use public schools have moved outta’ Lawndale, Roseland, Englewood, etc. –plain and simple.


    What are the “underutilized” buildings?

    I know that it’s a common theme with the neighborhood anti-annex crowd, but there needs to be a full examination before clinging to this.

    LaSalle’s currently full. So is Newberry. So is Franklin. Alcott and Oscar Meyer have space in the upper grades, because (like Nettelhorst) it’s only been in the past few years that these schools have been considered a decent option (Mayer was a no-way-in-hell school up until it was reborn as a Montessori a few years back). The lower grades are full. In a few years, they’ll likely be chockablock full in every grade, too.

    Manierre’s got space because, well, it’s how people have described it.

  • 230. LPNeighbor  |  December 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    @229 KLM

    yes, lots of people with kids are now moving to Lincoln Park…..Lincoln may continue to grow, then what. CPS should be taking a longer view for the future of Lincoln Park, not the path of least resistance to get the Alderman out of the way so redevelopment of the Children’s Memorial site can proceed.

    What do you think about putting the annex at LaSalle where there is room for an addition and a playground.

  • 231. crazylincoln parent  |  December 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I grew up SOA and now live in Old Town, right across the street from LaSalle. Im not a big fan of LaSalle but its right across the street! We moved back from Andersonville b/c Peirce was too big. I wanted my child to go to a small school, and now, it’s not happening. I am a supporter of opening LaSalle or Franklin to Old Town residents and expanding its magnet seats. Franklin has the most land does it not? Is that giant lot surrounding Franklin a part of Franklin? If so, expand there. The pick up and drop off at Lincoln sucks. I feel bad for the residents because there is just no space. I should be able to walk to my kids’ school instead of having to drive to another neighborhood. I dont think test scores determine a good school, its the parents and the quality of teachers. So far, I cannot see why Lincoln is so great. Still the same old CPS Common Core BS and test taking.

  • 232. Yet another Lincoln parent  |  December 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    According to the most recent data Alcott has 54 students in grade 1, 56 in grade 4, & 45 in grade 8. Many of the students don’t come from the neighborhood & ideal enrollment would imply that there should be 72 students in each of 10 grades. How is it that Alcott isn’t underutilized? Seems like a great location for the IG program currently hosted at Lincoln.

  • 233. LEC  |  December 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Alcott is underutilized. It was on the closure list until CPS made the decision to keep all level one schools open.

  • 234. HS Mom  |  December 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

    @231 – “I am a supporter of opening LaSalle or Franklin to Old Town residents and expanding its magnet seats.”

    Would you then include all the low income housing in your definition of “Old Town”?

    “I dont think test scores determine a good school, its the parents and the quality of teachers.”

    And the students too. I have to agree with KLM, testing is vitally important and an excellent indicator of a good school. Testing is the one tool we have to measure learning achievement. It’s used and needed all along the way, to get into school, to determine mastery of a subject in differentiation and promotion to the next grade, to get into selective and specialty programs offered in CPS. One of the reasons CPS schools (selective or not in the case of Lincoln) are at the top of the charts for school ranking is that these kids are great test takers – smart and can prove it!

    Test scores matter all along the line and particularly once you get to college. From Cal techs website

    “We first look for academic ability by evaluating test scores, grades, and recommendations. Caltech students are gifted in math and science and also are good test takers. If you have low math and science test scores, we will look for evidence of abilities in other parts of your application. Even if you have done well on your standardized tests, we will confirm that ability with your grades and teacher recommendations.”

    This an example of a top college looking for high test scores and secondarily the proof to support it. Yes, there are colleges who don’t require test scores but they too will jump at student that scores over 30 on the ACT. It is very challenging for middle income middle test scores yet high GPA students and families. Check out the College thread here. Getting into a good school that you can afford without scholarships isn’t easy.

  • 235. klm  |  December 12, 2013 at 11:46 am


    Given that the Lincoln annex is a done deal, I’m not sure if i should come up with “what if’s”, but to answer your question:

    Maybe there could have been an annex at LaSalle and it could have switched buildings with Lincoln?

    Having a bifurcated, 2 campus, K-8 school where the principal is all over the place, the office is in one building, but not the other, kids from the same household at 2 different buildings (maybe the start times could have been staggered?)…..all that seems to preclude a Lincoln annex at LaSalle’s property, realistically.

    Also, there is the issue of ADA-type improvements needed at Lincoln, not just for students, but sometimes even other family members when they visit. This type of investment (lifts, elevators, ramps, etc.) can be expensive, but most of us will agree that it’s the right thing to do and will pay off eventually (even if by just making the building more inclusive). So, even if LaSalle and Lincoln “switched” buildings, this would have needed to be addressed.

    Per your “long view” idea, I think most people would say that Lincoln’s annex is addressing the future.


    Lincoln’s been overcapacity for years and the issue of what to do about it has been around for quite a while. I’m not trying to bust your chops (really), but didn’t you know it wasn’t a “small” school when you moved back?

    Manierre’s a “small” school and how’s that working out? (Sorry, again I don’t mean to pick on that particular school, but it’s the obvious example of how ‘size’ doesn’t matter as much as the actual education kids are getting at a particular school).

    I agree, in a perfect world, all my kids’ schools would be “small”, but things change, enrollments grow, drop, etc. Circumstances at individual schools change accordingly.

    As for school pick-up and drop-off: Well, I have experience with several schools and it always kinda’ sucks everywhere and some neighbors are always about to throw a brick through a windshield at some point. It’s been like that at every school my kids attended (Ever been on Clark Ave. in the afternoon when Parker gets out? Oy!). The good news is that the real madness tends to last 10 or 20 minutes, tops.

    The good news (relatively speaking, of course) is that many kids can walk to/from Lincoln and even if the LPH and CMH are developed with more kids for Lincoln, they’ll be walking, too. I’ve seen worse at other schools, believe it or not.

    Finally, I’ll make this pint because the anti-annex people that are freaking out about “congestion and traffic” that will come from the annex. I’m not addressing you, “crazylincoln parent”, but some of Lincoln’s neighbors that have acted like their neighborhood’s going to be destroyed by the annex (and anybody familiar with the situation will know I’m not stretching the truth).

    First, you live in the city, in a neighborhood famous for/with lots of traffic –you were able to live an OK life when a huge hospital the next block over from Lincoln, with 24/7/365 traffic from visitors, employees, delivery trucks, ambulances, helicopters …. Are new classrooms at Lincoln really going to make such a huge difference?

    Second, Lincoln’s open 9 mos. a year, M-F and most people are already gone for work when Lincoln starts,(8:45) and are still at work when Lincoln gets out (3:45). Yes, it can get kinda’ crazy, but for how long, really? 15 minutes? The school’s been there since the 1870s –you knew it was there when you bought or rented your place, sorry. What would you have people do, not send their kids to their assigned public school or or at least not pick them up from it (the kids that are 5, 6, 7, 8…years-old), so as not to disturb you?

    I know that this seems like a horrible thing to say, but if somebody can’t/doesn’t want to deal with traffic to the point where you’ll kinda’ act a little crazy at meetings about the addition of classrooms at the local public school, why live in a city like Chicago? In a neighborhood famous for its congestion? How do these same people ever deal with Fullerton at rush hour and on weekends (maybe we should prevent the Zoo’s under-construction exhibit –there’ll be more traffic int the neighborhood. Oh no!).

    Traffic and congestion are already horrible in the neighborhood, but many of us think it’s worth it in order to be able to walk and be close to much cool stuff. We knew that going in. That’s why we put up with it and accept it as part of living in the city (or at least most of us, apparently).

    The hysterics some people were showing over more classrooms at an already-there public school have been a little hard to understand. Sorry if I don’t entirely feel that their concerns are warranted.

  • 236. crazylincoln parent  |  December 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    To 234-
    We used to take the Iowa Tests once a year, I got into a top private school in Chicago and went to an excellent college. No standardized tests at my high school. I will not say which HS, but it costs 30,000 per year. I have been working in schools for YEARS and no teacher thinks all this test taking is necessary. If you think that being a good test taker is the key to success that would be an incorrect assessment. Its motivation and attitude. Its the amount of tests I am opposed to, not the once a year test to determine if some growth has been made. And yes, I do believe in opening up seats to ALL Old Town residents. Implying I am against low income families is crazy. I am not speaking for myself, I am speaking for those kids who also are surrounded by students who are all low income. It is not helping their success. I have lived SOA when most white people wouldn’t even consider living here and our cars were getting broken into regularly. I am White, btw, and believe all kids deserve a good public education, regardless of their income level. Diversity is the best, mixed incomes, ethnicities, etc. I believe in a fair and equitable way. Your kids’ test scores mean they can take a test, but says nothing about their ability to become successful in life. Luckily, I was fortunate to receive CPS education and a private school education. Lab School, Parker and Latin don’t do the kind of testing CPS does, and they go to very good colleges.

  • 237. crazylincoln parent  |  December 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    thank you “LP neighbor” and “Claire”. Why can’t my child go to LaSalle? She would have been able to in the 80’s when all my neighbor friends did.

  • 238. Veteran  |  December 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    To 236- I agree with you. A once a year test is all that is needed-or a test in September and one in June would be an excellent indicator of academic growth and also could be used to satisfy the teacher evaluation requirements. I’m from an immigrant background and attended Catholic Schools and I will say I received an excellent, no frills education and attended a state college free due to test scores. I am very tired of “everyone” making excuses as to why poor/bilingual children can’t/won’t learn. My parents did not help us with homework but there were expectations that you did your homework/schoolwork or there were consequences. The teacher also had expectations and consequences. This seems simple but it is not the norm at least in the schools I’ve taught in on the south, west and east sides.

    When you teach children from a low socioeconomic area you need to work twice as hard BUT you will see growth as evidenced by standardized tests. Should the class sizes be lower in the primary grades in low socioeconomic area-yes and should there be more wrap-around services-Yes. There are many very successful people in the history of America who were once poor-someone taught them.

  • 239. Chris  |  December 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    ” I have lived SOA when most white people wouldn’t even consider living here”

    When was the Triangle *not* predominately white?

    Or are you just saying that you lived in the city in the 70s, when “most” white people wouldn’t consider it, generally?

  • 240. klm  |  December 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm


    The reason schools like Lab and Latin don’t test their kids as much is because they already know that their students are going to do well/are doing well. No parent at these schools will seriously worry that their kids’ education is not preparing them properly or worry that they’re behind grade level, etc. Parents with kids at Lab, Latin, … KNOW that getting an education at one of these schools (and not being nicely asked to leave after 2nd, 5th or 8th grade, as can and does happen when kids lag at these schools) means being “educated.”

    No big surprise there.

    Funny how when I’ve toured these school, I noticed that they like touting their SAT and ACT scores/percentiles on brochures and like showing all the great colleges their graduates matriculate to (which itself requires really great test scores).

    At some point tests do matter.

    I don’t mean to be glib here, but do you really think that the culture around standardized testing at these schools is relevant to situations at schools like Manierre, Jenner, Wells, etc., where so many kids are tragically behind in terms of achievement and where teaching need to respond accordingly?

    There’s an achievement gap with minorities and low-income kids that’s keeping these groups poor and out of the mechanisms (advanced education in STEM areas, etc.) that are an entree to the middle-class. How can we change things if we don’t measure what these kids are learning –or NOT learning.

    It’s easy to say money is is not important when one grows up rich in a rich neighborhood. It’s easy to say taking K-8 achievement tests are not important when one goes to school at Lab (until one’s applying to Amherst and Duke in HS and then suddenly it really is, somehow).

    I get your point that we can’t be fixated on tests to the point that a few points here or there automatically precludes kids from following their dreams and being successful in a chosen field, especially when they are determined and persevere. Nobody’s advocating “teaching to the test.” However, if a kid is reading at a 1st grade level in 3rd grade, something need to be done ASAP (after 3rd grade the ‘window of opportunity’ to turn things around will only get smaller, as any SPED teacher will tell you). How will we know be able to help a kid like that if we don’t measure where he/she’s at NOW? How will we know if what we’re doing to help is working if we don’t test/measure again after a few months? At a school like Latin or Lab, all that’s a non-issue because everybody know if a student’s doing OK at a school like that, then they are by definition learning at an acceptable level.

  • 241. crazylincoln parent  |  December 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    to 239, yes, the 70’s, and it was also very mixed in the 80’s as well. Until property taxes killed it for the blue collar families. Remember, Chicago used to be pretty gritty. I don’t know how many people posting on this board are from here and remember how it used to be.

  • 242. crazylincoln parent  |  December 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    to 240-thats why the tests were developed. To teach literacy, and so on. My kid does fine. I don’t need or want her to take these tests that were meant to follow kids who are struggling. The students at the top private schools test well on ACT/SAT but do not take all of the tests CPS kids are required to take. You sound like you work for Pearson or something.

  • 243. HS Mom  |  December 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    @236 – really, we’re going to compare getting into college today with how it used to be 20 to 30 years ago? OK, “back in the day” (I won’t drag out the war bride mother civil servant dad) when I was looking at colleges we really didn’t “look” it was more like “which U of I are you going to”. Today, if you want to go to U of I, you have to test well. If you don’t test well, the next options are typically out of state at a premium of about 20 grand per year (more money than a majority of the students at such school pay) or something else. And, there are a lot of other things – just not U of I.

    Do I think Lincoln kids are great testers but not good students…..NO. Good strong academic students and strong testers usually (not always) go hand in hand and therefore, high test scores is ONE very good way to measure success of a school and leads one to believe that they are doing something right – parents, teachers, students, everyone.

    In my own opinion, the testing skills and insights gathered in the process have been instrumental in the development of my child. It’s interesting to see the thought process, which I believe lends to success in the classroom. All this from public education. I’m thankful.

    Caltech’s statement “Caltech students are gifted in math and science and also are good test takers” is telling. Why wouldn’t families at Lincoln or elsewhere want to groom their kids to reach for these kind of schools?

    “And yes, I do believe in opening up seats to ALL Old Town residents. Implying I am against low income families is crazy.”

    I was just asking a question and you answered it. Thank you. It would be interesting to see how it could work.

  • 244. LPNeighbor  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Opening up seats at LaSalle could work if the addition went to LaSalle instead of Lincoln. LaSalle remains a magnet school with a neighborhood component, essentially the South of Armitage portion of Lincoln’s attendance boundary is assigned to LaSalle for future enrollment (no child is forced to relocate from where they are currently enrolled). LaSalle retains 60 magnet seats each year, and since most of those who get in through the proximity lottery would now go to LaSalle by way of attendance boundary, that would open up even more seats at LaSalle for children across the City. Lincoln can keep EFAC and IG, EFAC families, current and future, who live south of Armitage can continue to attend the EFAC program. Lincoln would have a little breathing room and could perhaps begin to admit EFAC families from outside the attendance boundary again. Both schools retain their unique foreign language program.

    LaSalle’s physical space, being on a full square block with street frontage on all four sides makes it easier to put the addition there and still keep plenty of outdoor space. The addition would not need to be as big so maybe some funds could still go to Lincoln for some upgrades and installing an elevator for ADA compliance. LaSalle could get the performance space it has been raising money for, and could contribute those funds to the project. Old Town is a remarkably generous supporter of LaSalle, and that support would likely increase if LaSalle could accomodate all the children of the neighborhood.

    The traffic and safety issues at Lincoln caused by so many families from the southern end of the attendance boundary driving would be greatly reduced, kids from Old Town would be walking to LaSalle and those families north of Armitage would be making the short walk to Lincoln on most days.

  • 245. OTdad  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:36 am

    @236. crazylincoln parent:
    “Your kids’ test scores mean they can take a test, but says nothing about their ability to become successful in life.”

    If a kid cannot even test well, that surely means she/he is unlikely to be successful academically.

    You moved to Lincoln district, looking for a smaller school. You moved near LaSalle, a magnet school, and you are wondering “Why can’t my child go to LaSalle?”. Open up seats for OldTown residents? Isn’t Manierre the school for OldTown? Frankly, many things you said are self contradictory.

  • 246. LPNeighbor  |  December 13, 2013 at 7:52 am


    “isn’s Manierre the school for Old Town?”

    No, Lincoln is the school for Old Town. Lincoln’s attendance boundaries run from the Lake west and encompass the east side of Halsted. The north/south boundary lines are North Avenue to Arlington. A pretty large and very dense area.

    Crazylincoln parent stated she was originally in the Pierce district in Andersonville but Pierce was too large a school for her family. She moved into the Lincoln attendance boundary for a smaller school, which Lincoln traditionally has been at under 800 students. Now that the addition will increase Lincoln’s efficient enrollment to 1080 she advocates that the attendance boundary be redrawn making LaSalle a magnet school with a neighborhood component. LaSalle and Lincoln would both be moderately sized schools.

    I don’t know what part of that statement is self contradictory.

  • 247. HS Mom  |  December 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    @245 – “If a kid cannot even test well, that surely means she/he is unlikely to be successful academically.”

    It would seem that way but there are smart students who don’t test well and high testers that don’t do as well with grades. Usually when one or the other is high there is some obstacle keeping the student from performing to their full potential. Testing can help discover those obstacles. Student is smart but operates at a slow pace, anxiety prevents student from concentrating, forgetfulness or lack of organization can cause a smart student to miss homework or deadlines, giftedness in one or two areas but not another.

    Thing is, selective elementary and high schools and highly selective colleges have their pick of students who have both good testing skills and high academic abilities. Working on test taking abilities is important and the proper amount will help academically.

    I personally have been asked to take timed computer tests once for a promotion and once for a job interview. This is a life skill. My teen loves tests and does well. Throw him anything, benchmarks, state tests, subject tests he’ll knock them out. It’s like a puzzle. Mission accomplished.

    @246 “I don’t know what part of that statement is self contradictory.”

    Admittedly so, living in Old Town when it was not so hot was cause for many people to go private. I’m unclear how a workable plan includes Manierre without losing the “flock”. I mean, it takes a village, right. Your plan completely ignores Manierre which is the school for the heart of Old Town and blocks from LaSalle or Franklin.

  • 248. crazy lincoln parent  |  December 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    CPS makes decisions about boundaries. Remember, Manierre and Jenner served the Cabrini Green neighborhood. Things have changed. That means it is time CPS fixed the problem and starts mixing low and middle-upper income families so that these kids can get a fair and equitable education. It seems to me that no one wants it in “my backyard”. People who move from the suburbs to the City with an attitude of entitlement, as if they are more deserving than the have-nots is elitist. I welcome fixing bad schools and making them more integrated, not segregated. Is this the 50’s and 60’s again? Some Lincoln parents have an air of entitlement and think the only thing that exists is their little bubble in LP. Why are people afraid of Manierre kids integrating. God this reeks of racism! Bring on some diversity. I went to school with some gang members and gang activity. I am very much alive and experienced because of it. And I think my parents for exposing me to life. It has made me a worldly person. I work with a lot of underpriviledged kids and if they just had the opportunities that some of us have had, they will be as successful as anyone else. But people are afraid. Stop mentioning Manierre. Start advocating for making it fair and equitable!

  • 249. Chris  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    “No, Lincoln is the school for Old Town.”

    So, those signs on Wells just north of Division are lies?

    Lincoln is the school for the Old Town Triangle, sure, but “Old Town”, to most Chicagoans, includes at least *some* area south of North.

    If the south side of North Avenue from Wells to Larrabee, and Wells from North down to (at least) Evergreen isn’t Old Town, what is it? And none of that is in the Lincoln attendance area.

  • 250. Chris  |  December 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    “CPS makes decisions about boundaries. Remember, Manierre and Jenner served the Cabrini Green neighborhood. Things have changed.”

    Unless/until more kids are living in the Division to Chicago, LaSalle to the River area, Jenner’s location makes it more sensible to be a magnet or other non-neighborhood-only school. That won’t happen without a neighborhood component, too, bc there isn’t a reasonably located alternate ‘neighborhood’ school.

    As to Manierre, apart from anything else, it’s locationally challenged as to the perception of most who live in greater Old Town–it’s on the ‘wrong side’ of the Marshall Field Apartments, and in the shadow of Evergreen Tower. If Manierre were the magnet, and Franklin the neighborhood school, the perception would be somewhat (maybe not *enough* but somewhat) different.

  • 251. OTdad  |  December 14, 2013 at 12:24 am

    @248. crazy lincoln parent:
    You sound more like a politician than a parent. System has been there for ages, everyone has equal opportunity to take advantage of. “unfair” “not equitable”?

    Jenner and Manierre (have to mention them because of the proximity) refused to merge, both are more than half empty. The extra cost of keeping both open could easily be $15 million in 15 years. When Lincoln gets a new annex, suddenly it’s the biggest injustice the world has seen, even though the cost is about the same as keeping a half empty school open in long term. I see some hypocrisy here when talking about fairness.

    ” Is this the 50′s and 60′s again? Some Lincoln parents have an air of entitlement and think the only thing that exists is their little bubble in LP. Why are people afraid of Manierre kids integrating. God this reeks of racism! ”

    It has nothing to do with race or income. It’s the schools’ performance. Just look at Bell, South Loop, Skinner West, etc. People just want to give their child a solid foundation for the future. If every parent just SHAMELESSLY takes good care of their own kids, the world will be a better place already.

  • 252. Blameless  |  December 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

    “It has nothing to do with race or income. It’s the schools’ performance. Just look at Bell, South Loop, Skinner West, etc. People just want to give their child a solid foundation for the future. If every parent just SHAMELESSLY takes good care of their own kids, the world will be a better place already.”

    Thank you Old Town Dad, that pretty much sums it up and I guess you deserve the last word. You have SHAMELESSLY taken care of your own children, using not only your own resources but resources from the taxpayers of Illinois, resources from the same pool that parents from Canty, Hitch, Dever and Peck pay into too, but I guess they just don’t take as good care of their children as you do.

    Yep, the world would certainly be a better place if every parent SHAMELESSLY looked after their own children, taught their children to do the same…….. the world is just looking better and better. Thank you OTDad for this important lesson in SHAMELESS selfishness during this holiday season.

  • 253. HS Mom  |  December 14, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @251 – OT Dad – your points are valid, especially the one about the contradictions here. No sense in going further into the abyss in this thread.

  • 254. OTdad  |  December 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    @252 Blameless:
    Make sure you are qualified to lecture me about selfishness. You don’t know me, nor have an idea what I was talking about.

    My comment to “crazy lincoln parent” was about why parents like to send their kids to certain schools. Most parents SHAMELESSLY care about educational outcome, they care about school performance. It’s has nothing to do with race or income of student body. “crazy lincoln parent” was basically calling for parents voluntarily “mix” their kids with underprivileged kids so they can get “a fair and equitable education”. It’s ironic that he/she send a child to Lincoln instead of closer Manierre.

    The world certainly will be a better place if every parent raises their kids well. I’m surprised that you disagree.

    Be happy. Happy holidays!

  • 255. crazy lincoln parent  |  December 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    To OT dad. we don’t live in the Manierre district. Have lived where we are at for over 30 years. You don’t recognize your privilege. Many Manierre parents wish for a better education. If you dont apppreciate diversity then this is the wrong place to live.

  • 256. PatientCPSMom  |  December 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @250 Thank you for the observation about the changes that have occurred on the Near North side. I had a chance to be at the CPS closing hearings as parents from Manieere pleaded to get their children access to Level 1 education in the area – rather than merge their school with another Level 3 school. I observed every parent at the Manieere hearings wanted a good education for their kids as much as anyone. The schools on the Near North side are segregated by design – albeit a design that was created 30 years ago. Until the systemic issues of borders are addressed we’ll keep having these unresolved conversations about schools here.

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