The move to turn LaSalle from a citywide magnet school into a neighborhood elementary continues to cause concern and curiosity among parents, teachers, and elected officials, with the school principal and councilwoman both coming out against the Board proposal. Are you for, against, or just don't care about silly magnets and Lincoln Park parents?
WBEZ's Linda Lutton broke the news with a story describing the move, explained as an effort to relieve overcrowding at Lincoln -- isn't that where Brizard just moved? -- by reducing Lincoln's massive boundary (to Armitage at the South). Already more than half white -- one of just 25 such schools in CPS -- LaSalle would become even more so.
"While I admire CPS’ willingness to problem-solve, ouch, it hurts a bit to lose South Loop RGC and now a well-regarded magnet school," says CPS Obsessed, which posted Smith's letter and has nearly two dozen comments on the matter.
Says Smith: "I disagree with this plan. First, it does not solve Lincoln’s immediate problem: there will still be overcrowding for 8+ years. Second, it continues to diminish the educational experience at Lincoln – art and music classes have been cut back, and classroom sizes have increased. Third, while many neighborhood parents would like to attend LaSalle, it makes no sense to threaten to destroy a very valuable and successful program."
A parents sent in a copy of the principal's letter to the community, objecting to the proposal (see full text below).
Yesterday we had a long LSC meeting regarding what was recommended to solve Lincoln's over-crowding problems.
This plan was articulated at Lincoln where Mr. Cawley, CPS Chief Administrative Officer, answered Lincoln's parents questions. At LaSalle, Mr. Anderson, from the Office of Portfolio of Schools, explained the plan and answered our parents' questions.
The plan recommends that:
- Current LaSalle students stay at LaSalle
- All 2012 Kindergarten siblings will be enrolled at LaSalle
- For future years, the situation for Kindergarten siblings will be re-evaluated
- LaSalle would have an attendance area within North, Armitage, Orchard, and Lake Michigan.
Mr. Anderson said that he could not answer questions about LaSalle Magnet status.
We committed to send him a list of siblings anticipated to apply to LaSalle in the next 5 years. We are going to create an electronic survey which will be sent this afternoon. We will need 100% responses in a very short time (by tomorrow) about potential siblings coming to LaSalle in the next 5 years. The LSC advocated that CPS considers committing to enroll all known siblings.
The LSC also drafted a statement "Arguments against the CPS proposal to transform LLA into a neighborhood school". This statement was read to Mr. Anderson by Mr. Hicks and will be published with the minutes as soon as the minutes are approved.
At this point, we have been told by Mr. Anderson that it was the intent of CPS to listen to both communities and gather ideas and options that would be looked at.
Please make sure to answer the survey this evening.
We will keep you informed as other developments occur. As a reminder, there is a PTA meeting today at 9 am and CPS representatives will answer questions you may have about this plan.
Elisabeth Heurtefeu Principal LaSalle Language Academy