Neighborhood still challenging Lincoln Elem addition, PUSH coalition joins in

June 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm 81 comments

lincoln annex

Ok, a couple things.  I had NO idea this Lincoln Elem expansion was still being debated/contested.

Even more interesting, Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition is joining forces with those protesting on the grounds of 1) playground being eliminated (that must have been one kick-ass playground the way people are protesting its removal.)

And “Jackson said that kind of spending is part of a pattern:  residents in white, wealthier neighborhoods are given more access to better schools, and the concerns of their local school councils are heard.” as reported in the Sun Times.  Full article here:

Crain’s has information on the protest which seems to be based on lack of green space in the neighborhood and increased traffic congestion.  I will admit that I sometimes feel bad for the people who live in my son’s school’s immediate vicinity because the traffic is a mess during drop-off in the morning.  And…then I remember that by being among the first to send my son there when the school was expanding I have probably helped each of them increase their property value by at least $100K.

From the Crain’s article:

Another extensive legal fight is brewing in Lincoln Park, complicating the planned redevelopment of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site.

This time the fight isn’t over the redevelopment itself, in which developer Daniel McCaffrey wants to build two 214-foot towers, 760 residential units and more than 160,000 square feet of commercial space. City Council approval of that project already has been challenged in court.

Instead, the new flap is over plans to expand the nearby Lincoln Elementary School by building a $20 million, seven-story addition on the school’s playlot and moving the play area to the roof.

“This is just a terribly improper place for an expansion,” said attorney John Pikarski, who represents 51 parents in the zoning matter and predicts that the dispute eventually will end up in court.

A seven-story school is not good for kids, and the area already has severe traffic problems even without 400 additional children a day getting to and from Lincoln, he said. (Editor later noted that the building will be only 3 stories high.)

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81 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LP Mom  |  June 26, 2014 at 2:15 am

    The neighbors opposing this anex really put a spin on things. This is not a 7 story anex (look at the pictures); it is a 3 story anex. The playground is ok but definately not exciting and it does not have grass. Most children play at Oz park 2 blocks away. We also have many other playgrounds very close. Rainbow push obviously does not understand what will happen if the anex doesn’t happen. The minority children attending from outside the attendance area (to help the school get to the minimum minority percentage) will be dropped. Also, If they cut the attendance zone in half they will have to take over the Lasalle building. Most of the 51 people opposed to the anex don’t have children still in the school. The lincoln parents took the time to go looking for state funds when cps wasn’t helping with the overcrowding (classes in halls, boiler rooms etc). Cps didn’t just hand lincoln the money. This is not a Walter Payton like school – it is really old, hallways are small and the staff shares space in a small conference room/office. The schools that closed were under performing and half empty – not a valid argument from rainbow push. As a parent of a child that will be attending kindergarten at lincoln in the fall I am beyond mad. Was a condo in LP in the budget 8 years ago? No, but we sucked it up knowing we were going to have children. I wanted a great neiborhood public school for my child.

  • 2. Counterpoint for discussion  |  June 26, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I thought the state was broke. Push issue is tied in with construction jobs for blacks. The solution is to make it a neighborhood school with no outside boundary admittance and no improvements. Stop spending money we don’t have.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I saw in the story that the school was built in 1871 – pretty amazing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 4. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I suspect the litigation will fail and if it does succeed there can be corrections made to the zoning ordinance to allow for the annex. I have discussed my opposition to this project on this blog months ago, CPS is heading for a deep fiscal retrenchment once the Mayoral elections are over along with a significant property tax rate increase that will require legislative action waving the property tax cap.

    All the proposals for revisions to the CPS pensions will not put CPS on a solid footing unless there is additional revenue, extreme austerity, or a combination of revenue increases and budget cuts at the school level. This is not the time to expand CPS debt or utilize state capital funds for projects that can be avoided or delayed.

    Rod Estvan

  • 5. klm  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:23 am


    Yes. Talk about spin doctoring gone beserk.

    Back when the same group (and it is always the same group, despite their claims that their view represents most people in the neighborhood, because it doesn’t, believe me as somebody who lives there) tried to block a new annex because of concerns over “traffic”, negative effects on the neighborhood, etc., there was no mention of black kids in Lawndale or Englewood (and why would there be, those kinds of neighborhoods have their own issues unrelated to overcrowding at a school in Lincoln Park).

    When their complaints didn’t work because they started to sound NIMBYish and their claims about an addition to a public school destroying the neighborhood quality of life seemed exagerated and even a little petty on some levels, etc., they moved towards a “fairness towards poor minority children, we’re putting the needs of poor black people over the wants of rich white people” spin.

    Since their original community complaint-based model for blocking the annex didn’t work, they began looking for anything that would support their anti-annex goal. Hence, their playing the race card, “good white people that care about and have concerns about poor black kids in Chicago’s poor neighborhoods” vs. the “bad white people that selfishly want to use public money to build a ridiculous annex to an already high-performing school when there are other options that won’t take money away from more deserving, needy, poor black kids –shame on them for not understanding or even caring about this and selfishly looking out for their own privileged children when there’s so much more need elsewhere, …etc.”.

    Please. They’re using poor black people as a means to an end, rather than representing a genuine concern born of a pre-existing, desire and/or caring about the plight of poor black kids on the Southside.

    Interestingly, if most of them had their way, lots of low-income black kids would be thrown out of a great education at a school like Lincoln or LasSalle (through a shrinking boundary that they wanted and proposed use of LaSalle for a new neighborhood school like most of them wanted/want). Even when people pointed this out (the low-income black kids in low-income housing that go to Lincoln live mainly on the projects on North/Orchardand, along Larabee and the units nearby and low-income back kids from all over the city come to Lincoln Park to attend LaSalle and get a better education), I didn’t see any concern about the plight of these low-income black kids. And people were pointing this out frequently, believe me. It was effectively a non-issue for them then, but now suddenly the plight of poor black kids in their primary concern relating to the annex? They didn’t much seem to care about the educational plight of poor black kids then, but now that’s all changed? Talk about grasping at straws.

    And getting Rainbow Push on their side?

    On some level their use of poor black people to get their way makes me kinda’ sick (and not just because I have black kids and a black spouse –I’d feel the same if I married another white person and had white kids). They’re using low-income black people to get what they want, rather than manifesting a genuine concern about their plight.

  • 6. klm  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:58 am


    You are right to have concerns over the fiscal health of Chicago and illinois. I have them, too.

    That said, certain public investment and infrastructure spending is not only cost-effective in the long run, but benefits the city and state. The long-term cumulative effects of Lincoln’s annex have positive fiscal and social ramiifications (a more stable tax base, people with good incomes staying in the city, more appeal to middle-class people with kids, a more stable population base, younger demographics that leads to dynamism, etc.).

    Not to mention that this is a public school with a genuinely outdated infrastructure that needs to be fixed, somehow –it really is that bad.

    We’re not talking about a pet project like a perfoming arts or community center or maybe a street beautification project –it’s a public school, and public education is an essential public service.

    Accordingly, it seems like more of a fiscal “need” than a “want” to me.

  • 7. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 9:54 am


    “This is not the time to … utilize state capital funds”

    That’s a different pocket, in a different pair of pant. I do not understand what using State (ie, *not CPS*) money that would not otherwise come to Chicago is a problem, especially when it is capital budget funds that would not be allowed to be used for operations.

    No dispute about the rest of your point, even if I do not necessarily agree with all of it. Just don’t get that one point.

  • 8. klm  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:22 am


    Yes. While there’s “no such thing a free lunch” (and I genuinely understand and believe that) we’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul here.

  • 9. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Chris what I wrote was “This is not the time to expand CPS debt or utilize state capital funds for projects that can be avoided or delayed.” Some things can’t be avoided or delayed other things can be. Given the situation CPS is in the use of these funds in order avoid using property tax generated funds is important.

    I expect both the Civic Federation and myself in our reviews of the FY 15 CPS budget will discuss this issue in detail.

    Rod Estvan

  • 10. anonymouse teacher  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I want to know when they are going to fix the roof at Lane Tech so teachers and students don’t have water pouring through the ceiling every time it rains in certain parts of the top floor and have to switch classrooms on a regular basis while the floors get ruined. You’d think that would be considered an emergency situation, but since its been going on at least a year, apparently not.

  • 11. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:46 am


    “Given the situation CPS is in the use of these funds in order [to] avoid using property tax generated funds is important.”

    What pocket is the Lincoln funding coming out of that would be available for a “need”? And what is that need, in your view?

    Still don’t see how it would be permitted to substitute for other-sourced funds. We’re not talking about reallocation of TIF.

  • 12. cmon9  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

    10 for many years i attended the CPS meeting where schools would come begging for additions, etc. Each time I attended there was a janitor from Lane who came begging for filters for the pool. pathetic.

  • 13. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Chris the law which authorized these state capital funds for school construction can be found at Section 5-5 of 105 ILCS 230. The law
    does not have what is called a clear supplant provision against CPS capital funds, there is a special exemption for Chicago at 105 ILCS 230/5-25 (c). There is another special exemption for CPS at 105 ILCS 230/5-35 (b).

    So CPS has the ability to use these funds without real concern over accusations of supplanting its own capital dollars. CPS can also use these dollars if it wants to “to pay debt service on bonds, as those terms are defined in the Local Government Debt Reform Act, that are issued to finance one or more school construction projects.”

    Under the law the pots of money are not a discrete as one might think, because of the complexity of this issue it is better discussed in more detail in my annual budget review. These state grant dollars and “build Illinois funds” pursuant to 30 ILCS 425/4 (a) that allows for their use for “other public infrastructure capital improvements” can be used relatively flexibly.

    I know this is a much larger discussion than just the one Lincoln School project and deals with capital spending for the district under an assumption of longer term fiscal difficulties and a deep reluctance of the population of the City to pay up on property tax rates. It is an important discussion that needs to be reality based and does not presume pennies falling from heaven as the solution, be that heaven based on TIF dollars, or unique taxes on entities in the city with money (the transaction tax on the Merc and CBOT, suburban commuter taxes, etc).

    Rod Estvan

  • 14. Neighborhood Schools First  |  June 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    klm, given unmet basic facility needs like those given in @10&@12 (Did you see the pics of the peeling paint in the school in Rogers Park?), do you see why some find a brand spanking new facility irritating? You don’t have to be a shortsighted crab to object to fancy new buildings when things are falling apart elsewhere. I think we can add LPE to the queue if some classes have to meet in boiler rooms,but it is certainly debatable where in the facilities queue it should be.

  • 15. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    ” there is a special exemption for Chicago at 105 ILCS 230/5-25 (c). There is another special exemption for CPS at 105 ILCS 230/5-35 (b)”

    Those both allow CPS to use the state capital funds to make debt service payments (whether bond or lease) for prior construction projects that were funded by bond or lease. Ok.

    Given that the funds in question appear (am I wrong? maybe–if so, show me) to come from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, I doubt that the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Capital Development Board would approve a “project” that creates zero hours of construction labor, bc the “project” is already complete. To get those $$, have to build *something*.

    Should the state capital funds be spent on something else? Definitely maybe. But anyone (NOTE–I know that the following does not apply to you, Rod, at present) saying “spend it on something else” without a proposal that comports with the funding source should think thru the objection.

  • 16. Mary B  |  June 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    “unique taxes on entities in the city with money (the transaction tax on the Merc and CBOT, suburban commuter taxes, etc).”

    Those businesses can easily move and will move. It’s not like they have manufacturing plants. Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. A business friendly environment will attract companies, create jobs and drive increased tax revenues.

    What about cutting expenses? Are the citizens of Illinois not taxed enough? Our income taxes were increase 67% a few years ago. Our sales tax rate is 10%. My property taxes were up 12% last year. Where are those billions? Government employee pension and benefits reform first. No tenure for teachers (kids get stuck with the worst teachers). Pay based on performance. If an employee believes they are underpaid based on their skill set, they are free to find work elsewhere. Or better yet, start their own business.

    As union benefits increased and business losses mounted, Detroit had the idea to tax it’s way to prosperity as well.

  • 17. Yet another Lincoln parent  |  June 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    From the beginning those opposed to the annex have been opposed in part because it meant lincoln was jumping to the head of the line in terms of funding for over crowding. Not to mention that cps owns plenty of school buildings in the city & plenty in the neighborhood to house all of the kids living here without spending more money. The fact that buildings like Lane, LPHS, & Lincoln have old capital that needs upkeep is not a reason to build new.

    LaSalle serves 136 low income students. Lincoln serves 106. Some at LaSalle probably live in the Lincoln attendance zone. LaSalle could be moved displacing no one. Lincoln could have gerrymandered boundaries to keep all of orchard & north at Lincoln if that is the concern.

    Even if building an annex is the only solution willing to be considered why not put it at LaSalle where there is space for an annex & a ground level playground to accommodate kids before & after school? LaSalle takes over the somewhat bigger lincoln building & LaSalle building becomes a neighborhood school.

  • 18. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Chris your reference to the Illinois Jobs Now Plan relates to HB0312 (Public Act 096-0035) which is 255 pages long and SB1221 also passed by the 96th General Assembly. SB1221 (Public Act 096-0039) was subjected to a massive line item veto by Governor Quinn cutting $3,466,183,100 from the bill which is 996 pages long. Now in these two Acts which together are called the Illinois Jobs Now plan there are very specific line item appropriations in these Acts, some rather amazing in fact.

    There are other appropriations that are broader, including funding for CPS capital development. There were a few school related projects that actually named specific school sites. The larger appropriations of the more general nature were subject to the exemptions provided to CPS under existing state law in the school code so in my opinion CPS had flexibility in the use of non-specifically delineated funds driven by Public Acts 096-0035 and 096-0039. Lincoln School is not named in either Act or are many other CPS projects utilizing funds from these Acts, I just checked to make sure.

    Unfortunately as the registered exclusive lobbyist for Access Living I was charged with lobbying very specific line item appropriations as they relate to people with disabilities in Illinois and budget lines for agencies like the Department of Human Services. While these two bills were being written I worked with several members of the Assembly and staffers. I attempted to insert appropriation lines for my constituents and the Illinois Centers for Independent Living repeatedly. A few got in and many did not.

    I read sections of both bills and worked legislatively on linking appropriations to existing laws requiring implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for schools and made sure the broader appropriations were linked to the school code appropriately where I saw problems.

    We had a dispute even over some specific line items and triggers in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for some line items involving public construction. This all happened very fast and to be honest even outside of normal committee structures, to think about it now brings back bad memories of exhausting meetings and 19 hour work days in Springfield.

    My primary concern at that time was to deliver to my constituents their fair share of the pork that was being rolled out, it’s the dark side of lobbying I guess. Chris your question on alternative uses of these funds is good one and I hope to discuss that critical issue in my annual CPS budget report.

    Rod Estvan

  • 19. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Responding to Mary B: I think to keep CPS afloat purely by budget reductions would not appear to most parents on this blog regardless whether their children go to school on the near north side or far south side. I also think most Chicago home and condo owners will oppose lifting the tax cap.

    No one in this state is talking about further increases in the existing income tax rate, whether the current income tax rate is reduced will be determined by the General Assembly once the election for Governor is over.

    I suspect in the FY 16 CPS budget and beyond severe austerity will be imposed on CPS schools and it will be framed in terms of how high over the current tax cap do the property owners of Chicago want to go. My prediction is that its going to get real ugly in the years to come.

    Rod Estvan

  • 20. Neighborhood Schools First  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I wonder if it has occurred to anyone on the BOE, or in the Mayor’s office, that draconian cuts to CPS are a good way to run middle to upper class taxpayers out of the city. Even with shiny new additions, and shiny new SE HSs, the cuts to staff, programs, and teachers will surely lead those who have options to consider leaving for other districts. There is trickle down even to magnets and SEs with these cuts. Teacher morale will continue to plummet. As an 8th grade parent, it’s is making me very leery, personally. Not sure I want to be invested in 4 years of HS in a district where funding is so precarious. Aren’t there districts that border the city where the per pupil $ is higher?

  • 21. Chris  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    “Aren’t there districts that border the city where the per pupil $ is higher?”

    Yes, of course. And (mostly) they have much higher property tax rates to support that spending.

    If you look at the numbers, do remember that HS only districts tend to have higher spending that Elementary only districts (eg, Evanston HS spends ~$20k/kid; Evanston Elem spends ~$13k), and so you need to factor that in to get a true comparison bt unit districts like Chicago and the non-unit districts.

  • 22. OTdad  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Jessie Jackson is still relevant? He is now leading a bunch of 51 whining Lincoln Parkers (mostly white with no school aged children).

  • 23. HS Mom  |  June 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    The addition to LP is long overdue. The building is ancient.

    @14 remember too that Lincoln Park is a neighborhood school

    here’s a capital budget that has been posted by CPS – includes 22,000,000 to Lane (now we can all complain that a selective school is getting money!)

    Click to access FY15CapitalPlan.pdf

    As far as a school complaining about pool filters…… come on. I don’t think that’s a capital improvement.

  • 24. anonymouse teacher  |  June 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    @23, no, pool filters are not a capital improvement, but they are a basic need and neither custodial staff nor anyone else should have to beg for these.

  • 25. HS Mom  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    they have huge fundraisers at this school and can’t tend to “basic needs” – don’t get it

  • 26. Shecky Dre  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Q: Hey Rod, what do you call 1,150 laid off CTU teachers & clerical staff?

    A: A good start.

    Ba da dum!

  • 27. Jen 3  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    “No one in this state is talking about further increases in the existing income tax rate”

    Yes they are. The 67% increase was temporary and schedule to end after this year. Springfield is definitely talking about making that permanent. That is a proposed increase, a permanent increase.

    Chicago property taxes are helped by the large number of businesses in the city paying higher rates. Whereas the suburbs have a much smaller concentration of businesses. I’d rather pay 2.5% of a $250k 3 bedroom suburban home than 1.75% of a $750k 3 bedroom condo in Chicago. People can not just compare tax rates or % of value. What about property tax $ per sq foot of land? There are many components of property tax calculation.

    This state is $200 billion + in the red in debt and unfunded pensions. They can triple the property tax and tax the “rich” 100% and this state is still screwed. The ones left holding the bag are the ones who can’t afford to move.

  • 28. Rod Estvan  |  June 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Jen 3 I wrote what I wrote, no one is talking about increasing the current rate which expires by statute at the end of 2014. I and many others are talking about keeping the current income tax rate in place.

    As I indicated keeping CPS afloat may require both austerity and property tax rate increases. And yes Shecky you haven’t seen anything in terms of layoffs compared to what might come in FY 16. The cuts in 1979 when CPS defaulted were about 3,000 total staff, truly massive.

    Rod Estvan

  • […] Neighborhood still challenging Lincoln Elem addition, PUSH coalition joins in CPS Obsessed: I had NO idea this Lincoln Elem expansion was still being debated/contested. Even more interesting, Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition is joining. “Jackson said that kind of spending is part of a pattern:  residents in white, wealthier neighborhoods are given more access to better schools, and the concerns of their local school councils are heard.” as reported in the Sun Times. […]

  • 30. Chris  |  June 27, 2014 at 10:14 am

    “Chicago property taxes are helped by the large number of businesses in the city paying higher rates. ”

    This is incorrect. All property within a jurisdiction pays the same “rate”; the difference is in the calculation of assessed value.

    ” I’d rather pay 2.5% of a $250k 3 bedroom suburban home than 1.75% of a $750k 3 bedroom condo in Chicago”

    I don’t see anyone holding you back…and yes, those are the two options–a 3x median price condo in the city or a median price home in the suburbs–very few people are cross-shopping Lake View and Hanover Park.

  • 31. Chris  |  June 27, 2014 at 10:27 am

    “The cuts in 1979 when CPS defaulted were about 3,000 total staff, truly massive.”

    What was CPS headcount in 79 compared to now?

    “no one is talking about increasing the current [income tax] rate”

    “keeping CPS afloat may require both austerity and property tax rate increases.”

    These are both true.

  • 32. Neighborhood Schools First  |  June 27, 2014 at 11:07 am

    “I don’t see anyone holding you back…and yes, those are the two options–a 3x median price condo in the city or a median price home in the suburbs–very few people are cross-shopping Lake View and Hanover Park.”
    Chris, you make some good points, but are you aware of your tone, and how you you come across in some of your posts….??? Superior, eager to put down/and or refute, and snarky and unfriendly.

  • 33. IBobsessed  |  June 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

    @31 and Rod

    There are plenty of people, including Springfield legislators, talking about having a graduated income tax instead of the current flat tax of 5%. Fair Tax Act, SJRCA 40 & HJRCA 49.

    Check out A Better Illinois- a statewide coaltion for graduated tax that includes small business supporters of the bills. Rod, Access Living should sign on.

    There are even red states that have a graduated income tax similar to this:

    Click to access Factsheet-Harmon-Rates-Calculator-Fiscal-Cliff-FINAL2-03.31.14.pdf

  • 34. nise  |  June 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Who in their right mind would protest the expansion of a school over traffic problems? Wow, now that is what I call well off people problems.

    If the money is there use it. Just be happy for your neighbor. A school that is improving in anyway is good news.

  • 35. HS Mom  |  June 27, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @34 – good point, and I agree.

    Chris is not condescending and bases his views on fact. The chance you take when stating a position is that someone will ask you to back it up. I think, if anything, that adds substance to the discussion.

  • 36. OTdad  |  June 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

    “A seven-story school is not good for kids, and the area already has severe traffic problems even without 400 additional children a day getting to and from Lincoln, he said.”
    3-story becomes 7-story (nice fact check)
    Lincoln is a neighborhood school. With or without the annex, the number of students is likely pretty stable. Based on that group’s exaggeration rate (2.33 times everything), Lincoln might have about 171 more children down the road.

  • 37. OTMom  |  June 28, 2014 at 8:04 am

    OTDad, Lincoln’s enrollment has been relatively stable. 20th day enrollment for 2011/2012 was 809, 2012/2013 was 784 and 2013/2014 was 814. It is a neighborhood school, with a selective enrollment middle school program and a policy of admitting out of district siblings of those selective enrollment students. (data taken from CPS website:

    So the first question is why did CPS not follow it’s own stated actions for relieving overcrowding……co-location, relocation of a selective enrollment program or redrawing attendance boundaries……before using taxpayer dollars for an $18 million annex?

    You state that Lincoln is a neighborhood school with enrollment that is likely to be stable with or without the annex. For the last three years enrollment has hovered around 800. So the second question is why. then, is a cash strapped (school district/city/state……take your pick here) spending $18 million to expand the school to an enrollment of 1200?

  • 38. OTdad  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

    OTMom, the questions you raised are all reasonable and legit, far better than the argument from lawyer of the 51 people. Safety and traffic remain the same with or without the annex.

    I also think the best way to relieve overcrowding at Lincoln is splitting the boundary. If CPS had successfully close the half empty Manierre (merging with half empty Jenner), the perfect solution would be: move Lasselle to Manierre building, and use Lasselle building for children south of Amitage.

    CPS could not even merge two half empty schools that are blocks away. They picked a plan that is disturbing the least amount of people (51).

  • 39. OTMom  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:38 am


    The one solution that has been raised over the years but has not gotten much air time is moving the selective IG program a few blocks north to Alcott. Alcott has the room, it is my understanding they would welcome the program……the reason I heard from Lincoln as to why it would not work is because Alcott’s foreign language is Mandarin and Lincoln’s language is French. Lincoln also does not want to lose the IG program which brings in high scoring middle schoolers as well as additional funding. The other argument is that it would only relieve over crowding by about 100 students. If a few more seats were made available at LaSalle for the Old Town neighborhood and the IG program were moved Lincoln could get back to the efficiency range. No one id denying that Lincoln is currently over capactiy, the argument is over the proposed fix. LaSalle has been trying to build an addition for some time, and they have the room. If the argument is that the money is there so spend it, why not expand LaSalle to be able to enroll neighborhood children. No one is would be moved then.

    Student based budgeting is now giving every school the incentive to fill as many seats as possible from wherever possible, which will have a net result citywide of continuing to siphon off students from neighborhood schools.

    I guess the biggest argument is that this annex may solve the overcrowding problem, but the long term consequences, in addition to traffic and safety, inadequate open space etc, are the irresponsible expenditure and yet another building erected to siphon students from neighborhood schools.

    Personally, if the goal is to keep middle class families in the City, I wonder why there is not more investment in neighborhood schools where children can walk instead of traveling half way across town every day.

  • 40. HS Mom  |  June 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

    37 – “before using taxpayer dollars for an $18 million annex?”

    my understanding is that this is coming out of a state building fund created specifically for development and the creation of jobs in the still ailing construction industry. This will be paid by bonds (which is another issue altogether, as pointed out by Rod Estvan. Given that we are creating this fund (however hacked up it’s gotten) and there are multiple needs – jobs, schools, public buildings throughout Illinois – your argument about using taxpayers money on a school building is a moot point. You may disagree with this project or the fact that Illinois has decided to invest in capital improvements at this time (alla r. Estvan) but we are not talking about tax dollars that can be saved in the form of lower taxes or used for something else.

    This is why I’m in agreement with 34 – if there is an opportunity to use construction funds as solutions to school related problems (any school) – I say go for it.

    When it comes to spending and project priorities and details, there will always be people with different ideas on how it should go down. I’m happy to see the money go to CPS and LP has a real need.

  • 41. OTMom  |  June 28, 2014 at 10:02 am

    @40 If there is an opportunity to use construction funds as solutions to school related problems (any school), then do you think that there should be some sort of standard applied to prioritizing need to determine where that money goes? Lincoln is something like 50th down on the list of overcrowded schools, with available alternatives other than construction to relieve overcrowding. CPS ranked the schools in order of need and then put Lincoln at the front of the line when money became available.

  • 42. HS Mom  |  June 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

    @41 – Other schools are budgeted for overcrowding relief by CPS.

    I don’t know the exact budgeting process but I’m guessing that the criteria is more based upon more than sheer numbers of students. For example, a state project may look at the overall affect to the proposed development and the effect on the multiple small businesses in the area…..something that has a farther reach than the school and it’s environment.

  • 43. HS Mom  |  June 28, 2014 at 11:16 am

    sorry – I’m guessing that the criteria is more based upon more than sheer numbers of students. s/b

    I’m guessing that the criteria is based upon more than sheer numbers.

  • 44. Rod Estvan  |  June 29, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Chris in 1979 CPS was about 7,000 students larger than today inclusive of charter school students. But of course costs per teacher were much lower. From 1978 to 1979 there was almost zero drop in enrollment, so the cuts increased class sizes which the union was forced to agree to or face the reality of having no pay. In 1979 teachers were not paid for a full month because CPS lacked the cash flow to even make pay roll. Teachers stopped working after the second pay date was missed and that was when the School Finance Authority took control based on Authorization of the General Assembly and agreement of the Chicago City Council and Mayor. The union also agreed to the creation of the Authority and bought many millions in bonds through the pension fund issued by that body at high interest rates. The CTPF made massive money on these bonds over a 30 year period of time.

    Rod Estvan

  • 45. Put lincoln kids in empty alcott  |  June 30, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Yet Alcott sits underused and begging for non-neighborhood kids.

  • 46. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

    “Chris in 1979 CPS was about 7,000 students larger than today”

    Thanks, Rod.

    I looked and found enrollment of 458,000 in 1980, and 530,000 in 1975 (this past year, enrollment was 400,545; peak was 580,000 in ’68)–did you leave a zero out?

    Just trying to get a sense of the relative per student size of that layoff compared to the ~1,000 of this summer.

  • 47. CLB  |  June 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

    @17 @39 @45

    LE would still be over-crowded if the SE IB MY program was moved to Alcott (what CPS claims to be efficient is mythical and some of the IB students would also be area attendees so might not leave). But once over 700 new residential units go up at CMH site, LE will see more students enroll. Other demographic growth occurs south of Armitage, so LaSalle was a proposed solution (Alcott is north of LE), but it is a magnet, language-academy school and it is full. There is no “empty space” there. So making it a neighborhood school would require de-magnetizing the school. If an addition was added to LaSalle, it would not accommodate all the south of Armitage LE students without expelling magnet students. You would create a second, high-income neighborhood school.

    Basically, there is no good solution, but the one that has the least displacement of current students and makes room for new students from the CMH redevelopment units is to put an annex on LE school.

  • 48. CLB  |  June 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    CMH redevelopment has been held up because the LE overcrowding would be worsened by the new construction. Many of the LE annex opponents are in fact opposed to the CMH redevelopment plans, and so hope that by blocking any LE physical expansion, the redevelopment plans will be reduced such that not that many rental units (and low-to-mod. income reserved units) go up. The school itself is a ploy — except for people on the block, who of course don’t want to see more crappy traffic.

    FYI, CPD officers made it quite clear to me that if something were to happen to an illegally parked car by a school, it would be very unfortunate. But no one investigates a keyed door or bashed side-mirror on an asshole’s double-parked car. There’s nothing as satisfying as gouging the side-panel of a shiny, polished but illegally parked S-class.

  • 49. OTMom  |  June 30, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    @47 As far as displacement goes, the original proposal that involved LaSalle NEVER was going to displace current students, but it did not give a definitive answer as to what would happen to siblings of current students or the magnet program. That plan was never able to even be discussed because the Alderman came out against it less than 24 hours after it was presented…………

    What would be so bad about another level one neighborhood school in the City? CPS had said it would create more magnet seats at LaSalle II at the time, and since then opportunities exist to perhaps move a magnet program to a neighborhood that would be more accessible to lower income students.

    It is the IG program, Internation Gifted, not IB Middle Years. IG is a selective enrollment program but does not adhere to the standards set by the governing body that oversees IB programs. The IB designation was changed a few years ago because Lincoln was not meeting IB Middle Years program standards or decided not to pursue that designation, not sure which.

    By moving the middle school selective enrollment program to Alcott….problem solved. Disruption, not much to current students except for the 7th and 8th graders in the IG program, incoming 6th graders to the 2014/2015 IG program are going to be mostly out of district anyway as the Principal stated that not very many of Lincoln’s rising 6th graders qualified to apply. How disruptive would it really be to move those students less than 4 blocks north? I guess I just don’t buy the least disruptive argument anymore when CPS has taken actions recently that have been far more disruptive to other students, their families and entire communities.

  • 50. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    “So making it a neighborhood school would require de-magnetizing the school.”

    If would “require* finding an empty building to move LaSalle to. Seems CPS has a lot of those at the moment. Can’t have a ‘neighborhood’ school out of the neighborhood, but a magnet can be anywhere.

    It would merely require degaussing the *building*.

  • 51. Put lincoln kids in empty alcott  |  June 30, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Exactly #49! What you say makes so much sense, I don’t understand why this isn’t being done. Follow the money … who stands to make money building the annex …

    “By moving the middle school selective enrollment program to Alcott….problem solved. Disruption, not much to current students except for the 7th and 8th graders in the IG program, incoming 6th graders to the 2014/2015 IG program are going to be mostly out of district anyway as the Principal stated that not very many of Lincoln’s rising 6th graders qualified to apply. How disruptive would it really be to move those students less than 4 blocks north? I guess I just don’t buy the least disruptive argument anymore when CPS has taken actions recently that have been far more disruptive to other students, their families and entire communities.”

  • 52. CLB  |  June 30, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    @49 Thank you for the clarification on the IG program.

    But moving the IG program to Alcott would not reduce the overcrowding once the 700+ new housing units are built. That has been the fundamental issue: the current and future LE parents want a school that can accommodate new children from those units; the LE annex opponents do not want the new housing units, so they don’t want a new school or annex. It may still be necessary to move the IG program to Alcott or phase it out. But the IG move would not net out the enrollment surge from the new housing.

    De-magnetizing LaSalle meant the end of the language program because the language program was a magnet one. CPS said the language program was there because it was a magnet. The current LE and current LaSalle students were to be grandfathered at each school, meaning that any over-crowding reduction would not come for years. But current LaSalle student had little desire to stay with their language program cut.

    @50 Because of CPS bussing rules, any student who was 1 to 6 miles from LaSalle but not 1 to 6 miles from the new school would not be eligible for transportation. The nearest closed school that would accommodate — in theory — LaSalle’s students was Peabody, and that shifts the school 2 mi. by 244 degrees, so a non-trivial number of students would be affected. CPS is anal about bussing rules. For example, the southern bussing limit for Decatur is the north side of Fullerton. If you are literally across the street, you cannot be bussed.

    Again, building the annex had the least impact on students across potential schools — the IG students are the only ones likely to be moved in this scenario. And low and middle income residents in the former CMH complex have the opportunity to attend a high-quality school.

  • 53. CLB  |  June 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    @51 No. See @52. The IG move would not offset the children from the 700+ new residential housing units, which is really the crux of the issue.

  • 54. What does bussing have to do with it?  |  June 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    @52 – I don’t understand why bussing would be a reason why you cannot move LaSalle. CPS can set bussing boundaries differently to accomodate the transition if that is a real concern. The general rule you cited of 1 to 6 miles is not applied universally and some schools have different bussing boundaries.

    What did they do with bussing when they moved Edison? If they could move Edison, why can’t they move LaSalle?

  • 55. Chris  |  June 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    CLB: “Because of CPS bussing rules, any student who was 1 to 6 miles from LaSalle but not 1 to 6 miles from the new school would not be eligible for transportation.”

    Since when has CPS consistently applied their rules? What would prevent CPS from grandfathering in all current LaSalle I *families* (that is, including any younger siblings) to busing eligibility until they graduate?

    I’ll answer: since never, and *nothing*. CPS *absolutely* could continue busing current students to wherever, just as #54 notes.

    Your talking your book, CLB.

    Anyway, the best answer, from a 40,000 foot view, involved the Manierre/Jenner situation, as it would have kept LaSalle in the same general area. But that solution got surrendered to hoodlums.

    CLB: “The 700+ new residential housing units”

    Yes, $2800/month one bedroom apartments, are really going to appeal to families with school-aged kids.

    What’s the actual number of (proposed) units that are actually potentially appealing to parents of school-aged kids? Most of the 60 condos (in Nellie Black, if I understand correctly), certainly (but they are “luxury condos”, something LP does not currently lack), but how many of those 540 apartments are going to be ‘family’ apartments?

  • 56. klm  |  July 1, 2014 at 6:27 am

    I’d like to point out that Lincoln’s “ranking” for overcrowding often varies greatly, depending on how how one slices and dices it.

    Remember, the current building had classrooms for 2 classes per grade, 1-8, and one class for kindergarten. That’s it. Other space has been rigged into classrooms, 7-8 now uses off-site space leased from DePaul, …etc.

    Same with other schools. It depends if one counts “trailers” or not.

    If one measures “overcrowding” at Lincoln by the number of students vs. actual space it currently has, it really IS way overcrowded, not “55th” in crowding, but some people love using the 55 figure to make a point when it’s not really accurate (I think that number come from using the DePaul off-site classes). I’ve also read that Lincoln’s the 13th most crowded by one measure.

    How many people here whining about Lincoln’s new annex have ever been inside the school? The cafeteria is so tiny that kids have to go in so many shifts that many kids don’t have time to finsih eating a sandwich, the art room’s in the basement (an area not designed for teahing, but for storage), a boiler room had to be used for a classroom, closets are made into resource rooms, etc. It really is that bad. I’ve been to quite a few CPS schools and with 1 or 2 exceptions (and these were high schools), I haven’t seen many that are in any way as crowded as Lincoln.

    Also, I’ve made this point previously when the Lincoln’s annex was debated several months ago, but I’ll ask again: What is peoples’ fixation with Lincoln (a public school) and its getting a much-needed addition to relieve overcrowding. Look at how many other CPS schools (and there are lots) have had costly additions (either completed or in the works), new buildings, etc., but there haven’t been threads devoted to, say, the new annex at Bell, Edgebrook, the new building for South Shore International, etc.,

    Where were the people saying that kids from within Bell’s enrollment district should just be sent to Prescott, instead of building a new annex, etc? I didn’t see it.

    And yes, I understand how some (but not most) of these schools were funded from TIF funds, but Lincoln’s annex is being funded from a non-CPS state fund, but people still are upset because it’s “public money.” Well, in that vain, Coonley’s upgrade was funded with “public money,” but where was the outrage over that?

    Why all the “hatin'” for Lincoln from so many people?

    Where’s the outrage about Oriole Park, Edgebrook, Sauganash, Coonley, Bell, Wildwood, Canty……and on and on…?

  • 57. klm  |  July 1, 2014 at 7:54 am

    OK, I know this will sound like a rant (which I guess it kinda’ is).

    Why, if people care about overcrowding and how to deal with it in a simple, cost-effective (the cost of sending middle-class people to the suburbs is another issue that people seem to ignore) why is there even a K-8 RGC at Coonely or Bell? Just close these down and end the crowding problem (present and future).

    People act like closing Lincoln’s IG program for 6-8 (and traditionally about 1/3 of those actually come from Lincoln, so the net effect is not as large) is a glaringly obvious fix.

    However, middle-class people with kids that stay in Chicago have more often than not done so with their kids’ education in mind. Some forget about CPS and do parochial school. However, many buy in a particular school –a school with good MAP scores– attendance zone. They’ve made a kind of deal: give my kids a decent education, comparable to one that they’d get in Naperville or Northbrook (at least for K-8) and we’ll stay, do our part, pay taxes, support out neighborhood, out city, etc.

    Then, when a school gets crowded because of its success (Lincoln, Bell, Edgebrook, Blaine, …) some people get really, really mad when CPS builds an addition, etc., instead of just sending more kids in those schools to whatever CPS building is close by –no matter how objectively crappy that option is on many levels (location, achievement). So, why should people create, support and do all they can to build what we all want, a successful CPS neighborhood elementary school, when if that school does what it should –attract more neighborhood families — it’ll jest be torn apart and some people get “screwed” out of the education for their kids that they thought they bought into by buying a house or condo in Lakeview instead of Northbrook?.

    More middle-class people will just move to the suburbs. How is that good for Chicago, including for those areas that are distressed. If Chicago’s middle class leaves even more than now, things will only get worse for poor people (less taxes=less services, fewer economic opportunities).

    Am I the only one that’s looking at The Big Picture here?

    I think some people feel like as long as there are poor people in Chicago (especially ones living in quasi war zones), any concerns middle and upper-middle class people have are simply “white peoples problems” and are dismissive, snarky and even disdainful at times.

  • 58. cpsobsessed  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:27 am

    @klm, I’m with you on the over-crowding and shifting programs. I find it surprising that Edison as an entire school was moved several years ago but they won’t disrupt the programs at coonley/bell (and I say that having a child in one – it would be very disruptive, personally.). Heck, they could move both programs to trumbull which is sitting empty blocks away!

    People don’t like change and I suppose the upside is “more quality seats” in the city which is always a good thing. Coonley’s addition is from tif $ I believe so it makes sense to keep the neighborhood success growing – it’s a major neighborhood triumph, for sure.

    As a reminder cps is expanding/improving in a range of neighborhoods so in the grand scheme of things the lincoln addition is a smallish one of many changes.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 59. klm  |  July 1, 2014 at 9:24 am


    I’m sure that you are aware thay gerrymandering a school enrollment district according to race is glaringly illegal.

    CPS did that in the 60s-very early 70s (to slow ‘white flight’) and the result was a lawsuit by the Justice Department and a consent decree that lasted more than a generation.

    Favoring one race over another in making up an public school’s enrollment district’s map is not an option (and frankly, should never be IMHO). So, yes, virtually 100% of all the low-income black kids at Lincoln would have been sent packing if the anti-annex crowd had their way. Ironically, they’re NOW using this “concern” for poor black kids to support their anti-annex argument.

    I’ve been getting the notes and letters under my door since the whole debate over how Lincoln’s overcrowding has come up. Also the visits at my front door. Initially, all I heard and read from this group was how Lincoln getting more classrooms would disrupt and destroy the neighborhood b/c of traffic, etc.

    That argument didn’t work, so their notes and letters against the annex morphed into ones about “concerns over equaity, the needs of those less forntunate, etc.,”.

    Again, when from the very beginning of this debate, people were pointing out that the low-income black population would be gone, (and this fact was made clear, over and over, at every single public meeting, LSC meeting, etc, re: this issue), this group chose to ignore this fact.

    Then, pretty much all-of-a-sudden, their anti-annex beef is more over equity for poor minority comminites served by CPS, concern over how low-income are not being well served by CPS, etc.

    I get their letters asking for donations for paying lawyers and explainging their arguments and have since the very beginning. Also, I’ve had people knocking on my door trying to get me to oppose any additional classrooms at Lincoln. It was always about the usual “it’s gonna’ destroy the neighborhood” argument –no mention or concern EVER of the impact on low-income minority kids that would no longer be able to enroll at Lincoln, if they had their way. I once mentioned this fact to one of these “organisers” on my front porch, but they kinda’ ignored it and went on with their “traffic! traffic! traffic!” line.

    Then, when the annex was announced, literally otta’ nowhere these same people began their campaign based on “equity” and the “more deserving” needs of ppor minority kids in other neighborhoods.

    So, sorry, if I don’t believe their new/current noblesse-oblige line about the annex being “unfair” to the low-income people of Chicago
    Where was their concern before the annex was announced? Nowhere that I ever saw or heard, I promise you, —and I was on the front lines.

    I think that they felt as if they can somehow attach the annex with a civil rights, “disparate impact” type legal proceeding, they can then finally have a legal (or even suddenly ‘moral’) hook to hang their hats on, since other ones aren’t an option. There’s no real legal basis for stopping an overcrowded public school from building much needed classroom space on its own property.

  • 60. Rod Estvan  |  July 1, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Chris I didn’t pull out my MA thesis and check the enrollment data. I just now pulled out of one of my paper files the CPS budget for the 1994-95 school year and it listed the average daily membership for CPS in the 1984-85 school year as 423,499. CPS also lists in a report dated May 1991 titled “System-Wide Educational Goals and Objectives Plan” that CPS membership in 1970 as 577,679 and in 1989 as 408,442 or a loss of 29% in a period of 19 years.

    I have pretty good data on the numbers of staff from that period too if you want to review it in detail. George Schmidt editor of Substance I think also has records of similar detail in his possession, CPS lost most of its archives when they moved to Clark Street from Pershing Rd. I have three large boxes of summary special education (Bureau of Child Study) records that were being tossed out going back to the late 1950s that the then special education director told me were going out and let me take.

    Chris if you want to look at my paper records you can come to my office at sit down and go through them. My email address is My records going back to the early 1900s are stashed somewhere at my home and I would have to dig them out along with many of the documents relating to the fiscal collapse in 1979.

    In four years I will be retired and I will have time to organize this stuff to turn over to the Chicago History Museum, I do need to do something with all of this paper.

    Rod Estvan

  • 61. CLB  |  July 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    @54 @55. I have no idea what happened at Edison. I imagine people outside the new 6 mi. limit were SOOL. It’s a logistical headache to account for kids legitimately outside the zone from those illegitimately outside the zone (remember, this is the CPS that uses the tier system because it is easy, not because it is fair). All I know is that CPS hates paying for bussing — it is expensive — and will do what it can to restrict it even at the expense of improving socio-economic diversity. That’s one reason LaSalle was opposed to any plan involving LaSalle.

    Some portion of the units will be low-to-moderate income ones (by law) and there will be 2-bedroom units.

    But again, the issue is Smith (and many residents) wouldn’t back new housing without an overcrowding solution to handle post-construction enrollment and the current annex opponents don’t want any sizable new housing.

    Yes, a well-planned restructuring of Manierre and Jenner w/ south-of-Armitage LE area would be even better, but no one believed that CPS would ever devote the resources to a well-planned restructuring. Look at what they did to the other 49 closed schools and their receiving schools. Basically, no one but the CMH tower opponents wanted to see that attempted, including the parents at Manierre and Jenner. They want to keep their schools.

    Any way you do the math, paying for the annex is cheaper than stymieing redevelopment of CMH, which is what is really at stake here. If CMH were still there, LE would never be getting an annex.

  • 62. @64  |  July 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    @64, Edison doesn’t have a 6 mile limit for busing. It’s an SEES, not a magnet. The selective enrollments each have their own boundaries – the 6 mile limit does not apply to them.

  • 63. Chris  |  July 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Rod–Thanks again for the response.

    I wasn’t trying to hassle you about the ’79 headcount, just saw the ’80 count when looking at something else and it seemed out of whack.

    Did CPS have the standard every-year layoffs in the 70s that we have today?

  • 64. lawmom  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    There should not be any resentment to building Lincoln Park school upwards — look at what the Latin School did in the Gold Coast for its grammar school. It is exactly the same thing. They took an older building, built up some floors and the playground is on top. If it is good for folks who pay about $30K per kid a year, the same architectural design should be OK for the Lincoln Park folks. And yes, farewell to the relevance of Jesse Jackson.

  • 65. klm  |  July 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm


    Also, 2 other schools (1 very near Lincoln) in similarly space-deprived areas (like Lincoln) have built additions with playgrounds on top: St. Clement and Catherine Cook. Not to mention Lab has a rooftop playground. I’ve been on a couple –they were nice spaces. Lincoln’s design calls for a similarly pleasant space for kids.

    All the rants and signs saying “no rooftop cages wanted” ignore the necessity of a rooftop playground in many parts of the city, where space simply is not available, or at least not near existing buildings.

    The annex is going to be three stories, just like the exisiting main structure (and many houses on the same block as the school for that matter). The idea that it’s going to be a monstrous building that doesn’t belong in the neighborhood is wrong, or at least very exagerated. I mean, it’s Lincoln Park east of Halstead –there’s no space.

    Again, I’ll make this point: people for years lived with a 24/7/365, tons-of-people-coming-and-going everyday (thousands daily if one includes employees, outpatient care, visitors, …), parking on the street, etc., due to the major medical center literally on the next block from Lincoln. There were deliveries, ambulances, even a helicoptor landing pad –again all this 24 hours a day every day of the year. How were they ever able to deal with this, if more classroms at an existing school is causing such distress for some people?

    But Lincoln’s annex is going to turn the neighborhood into a hell hole of congestion and destroy peoples quality of life. How? I mean, school gets out at 3:45, for crying out loud –aren’t most people still at work then? Not to mention it’s only on school days, which means not even half the total number of days in a year.

    And all the crying about the loss of “park space.” First, it’s not park space. It’s CPS property, not Park District property. Second, it’s literally a blacktop lot, that’s all. How is it “park space” that needs to continue, over the needs of an overcrowded public school whose property rights have domain over said blacktop lot?

  • 66. Chris  |  July 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

    “Also, 2 other schools (1 very near Lincoln) in similarly space-deprived areas (like Lincoln) have built additions with playgrounds on top: St. Clement and Catherine Cook. Not to mention Lab has a rooftop playground. I’ve been on a couple –they were nice spaces. Lincoln’s design calls for a similarly pleasant space for kids.”

    Not to mention *Ogden*, built from the ground up with a MCC-style rooftop recreation area.

  • 67. Expanded Options announced  |  July 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Interesting program. Would be easy for cps to forget about these students who are 17 and above. What overall strategy would this be a part of? How effective have these options been in the past? Or is the strategy just to find new ways to give politically connected charters money?

    Seems like cash strapped cps continually investing in new expenditures.

    Also, the Mayors stated goal is just crazy. He wants 100 percent of cps students college ready AND college bound. Is he on the same planet as the rest of the city? Good sound byte, but 100percent college attendance not even ideal for many reasons.

  • 68. lil dumio  |  July 3, 2014 at 4:09 am

    “He wants 100 percent of cps students college ready AND college bound.”

    This will only happen if he is referring to ICDC College…I said, ICDC College.

  • 69. Rod Estvan  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Chris once the school finance authority took control CPS had fewer continuous layoffs because their ability to use creative definitions of a balanced budget stopped. So for a number of years there was limited hiring. There were 20th day cuts, but the number of actual layoffs were fewer after the big cuts in 1979.

    I hope that makes sense,

    Rod Estvan

  • 70. pantherparent  |  July 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

    The mayor also came out for 100% elimination of crime, 100% pot-hole free roads, and 100% sunny days.

  • 71. HSObsessed  |  July 23, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Groundbreaking at the annexes for Wildwood and Oriole Park announced on this city PR piece, but also information that 33 schools all over the city have received initiatives to relieve crowding. So, as someone said above, the Lincoln elementary annex is far from unique.

  • 72. klm  |  July 24, 2014 at 10:25 am


    Probably nobody will read this, but thanks for pointing this out.

    I still scratch my head as to why Lincoln’s annex is so controversial when the same things is happening all over the city.

    An easy (perceived to be mainly white and higher-income –those kinds of people already got it good, why is CPS spending money on ‘them’? ….) target, I guess.

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  July 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    More suing going on. School will use an empty street block as the school playground?

  • 74. karet  |  July 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    klm, The reason Lincoln’s annex is controversial is that there were multiple other, cheaper solutions that were not considered. Change the boundaries. Change LaSalle to a neighborhood school. Move the IG program.

    On the NW side, all of the schools are overcrowded. Changing the boundaries won’t help. There aren’t magnets that can be moved. There is no other solution.

    Personally, I’m not upset about the Lincoln annex, but I understand why it is controversial. Thank goodness there are finally going to be mobile units at schools like Prussing and Hitch. There were 40 kids in the K classes at Prussing last year. How many kids were there in the K classes at Lincoln last year?

  • 75. klm  |  July 26, 2014 at 7:06 am


    The thing is, “cheaper” solutions were considered. Indeed they were considered over and over and over. And debated over and over and over.

    The consensus in the community was for an addition, since anything else would have been so disruptive. Don’t get me wrong: some neighborhood people were/are against the idea –and they are very vocal.

    Thing is, LaSalle and Newberry didn’t want to be forced to close. Mayer and Alcott are not half-empty, underutilized buildings –and per any LSC meeting I went to at these schools re: any discussion moving boundaries, etc, to accommodate overcrowding at Lincoln, they did NOT NOT NOT want their schools torn apart/changed, given all the work that been done to create “reborn” schools that attract neighborhood families and considering all the plans they’ve made.

    The IG program at Lincoln is hardly an issue, since it’s for 3 grades only, and 1/3 the kids come from Lincoln.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    Also, anybody could say the same about other schools with new additions, upgrades, etc., –they could have just shrunk the boundaries for Coonley, Bell, Edgebrook, Oriole Park. ……etc., Plus, they could have just got rid of or moved the RGCs at Bell or Coonley.

    I’d never suggest these things, given how much people depend on which school their kids will go to when deciding where they’re going to live/buy/move or if they’re going to just leave Chicago for the suburbs.

    A city-wide debate over expansions at these individual schools didn’t happen –at least not to the extent that so many people have been so cavalier about griping about Lincoln’s addition.

  • 76. karet  |  July 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    They can’t just shrink the boundaries. All of the surrounding schools are overcrowded. That is the difference.

    You’re right that all of the solutions that I mentioned were unpopular. That’s why they’re not happening. That doesn’t mean those solutions weren’t cheaper or better long-term solutions. People hate change.

    You’re right about moving the RGCs at Coonley and Bell, but those schools have parent networks just as powerful as Lincoln. Personally, I don’t understand why the Hard of Hearing program at Bell wasn’t moved. But again, people hate change.

    I think the perception that certain, higher-income neighborhoods get things first is not unfounded. It’s not 100% accurate, of course. But do you think the Lincoln parents would have tolerated 38-40 kids in the K classes, ever? I don’t think so.

    Like I said, I don’t mind that Lincoln gets the annex. The overcrowded schools near me are *finally* getting mobile units — but if they weren’t, I’d certainly be irritated. The only thing that surprises me is the protests within Lincoln Park.

  • 77. klm  |  July 28, 2014 at 9:15 am


    Some schools near Bell, Coonley … had space (McPerson, Hamilton, Bateman, Ravenswood, ….) –attendance boundaries could have been changed.

    Also, for some reason people want to think of Alcott as underutilized, but they forget they the school has/wants/incorporated a pre-school in the building. The current thinking about public education is to include preschool as an important aspect. Also, for child care purposes, we tried to get one of our kids into (full day) Alcott K a couple of years back (when Lincoln still had only 2 hr 40 min K). We had approx. advantage, but were still 50-somrhing on the waiting list. For the heck of it, I tried for 1st to see what would happen –we still didn’t get in, not even top-50 on the WL. I know at least 2 other families w/ similar experiences. This lead me to believe that Alcott was not wide-open and begging for students to fill empty classes.

    Again, I will have to wonder why Lincoln’s expansion became the punching bag for so many people, without context, facts about other schools in similar situations, etc. Where were the WBEZ stories, the supposed civil rights “leaders” attending quasi-protest new conferences? It didn’t happen like that anywhere else –not even close.

  • 78. Chris  |  July 28, 2014 at 10:28 am

    “Personally, I don’t understand why the Hard of Hearing program at Bell wasn’t moved.”

    Might have something to with the deaf program having been there since the school was built, and is part of (all of?) the reason that it is named after Alexander Bell.

  • 79. klm  |  July 28, 2014 at 11:00 am



    So often, people will just casually say that they’ve cleverly figured out an easy solution to a school’s overcrowding issue or need for an upgrade, etc. –just move the kids here, close that program there, move that other program to another school, etc…

    So often people do not understand the context of a school’s central role in a neighborhood, the integrated importance of certain programs within a school, etc. How communities worked for years to build a viable, all-hands-on-deck institution the glues people together, etc. All that stuff matters enormously. I heard a neighbor at a meeting with the Alderman say “If Lincoln’s so crowded, why don’t you just bus kids to one of the 50 schools that closing? It’s just so stupid! Chicago is so screwed up –don’t build an annex just bus the kids to one of the closed schools!” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s pretty much what he said to the word, as best I recall)

    Again, obviously no context, understanding of the negative ramifications,the devastating effect, etc., –he just was 100% sure that his ‘solution’ was an easy, perfect one, etc.

  • 80.  |  October 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Neighborhood still challenging Lincoln Elem addition, PUSH coalition joins in | CPS Obsessed

  • 81. Audivox  |  October 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm


    Neighborhood still challenging Lincoln Elem addition, PUSH coalition joins in | CPS Obsessed

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