“Some West Side parents are pushing back against a proposal to consolidate three underutilized neighborhood schools in favor of a new, high-tech public school in North Lawndale. Parents and community organizers rallied Thursday outside Sumner Elementary School, one of three schools that would close to support the launch of the North Lawndale STEAM Partnership Academy.
“Neighborhood leaders have spent years developing the school, which would specialize in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Sumner, Lawndale Community Academy and Crown Academy all would close, and their pre-K to eighth-grade students would be moved to the new school.
“All too accustomed to seeing local schools close, opponents said Thursday the proposal doesn’t address the real reason students are leaving Lawndale: existing neighborhood schools are underfunded.
“‘We have schools that are already open, and we are underfunded,’ said Shavon Coleman, a parent of two Chicago Public Schools students and a teaching assistant at Lawndale Community Academy. ‘Take the money that you were going to invest in the new STEAM school and invest that into our existing schools.’
“Parents said Sumner, Lawndale Community and Crown should be given the funding to have full STEAM programs, improved technology facilities and full-time social workers, nurses, librarians and speech pathologists.
‘School closures concentrated on the South and West sides have not worked out well, parents and teachers said.
“‘There were no savings. There were no discernable academic impacts that would justify the trauma of shutting down schools in communities that actually need a better deal,’ Gates said. ‘I’m sick of them telling me closing three down and building one means investment.’ (Sabino, Block Club Chicago)
West Side Parents Protest Plan For New STEAM School: ‘Take The Money … And Invest That Into Our Existing Schools; Proponents of the new school say the proposal is overwhelmingly popular among Lawndale residents. But some say closing three schools is too high a price to pay, Pascal Sabino, Block Club Chicago, 11/6/20