Chicago Public Schools announced a series of proposed school mergers across the city yesterday, including the closure of George Schneider Elementary, 2957 N. Hoyne Ave. into Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Elementary, 3149 N. Wolcott.
Schneider, which has shrunk to 65 students in recent years, has been rumored to be on the chopping block for some time, according to sources at CPS. Schneider, which has a significant number of students from the Lathrop Homes Chicago Housing Authority Project, became even more likely to close when CHA announced plans to move residents out during upcoming renovations.
“Because of all the Lathrop Homes work that was going on we assumed there would be children from Schneider going to Jahn at some point,” Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) told Roscoe View Journal.
“The plan was work them into Jahn. If there are any kids from Schneider from [the 32nd Ward] there, it isn’t many. So we’ve been welcoming them into Jahn.”
Despite some other Chicago Aldermen’s complaints that they didn’t have enough notice about the mergers, Waguespack felt he had plenty of notice.
“I got a hint of it last week. We officially had the meeting on Monday morning,” he said.
Parents and Roscoe Village community members seemed to be relatively accepting of the proposed merger and expect the merger to benefit Jahn.
“I think CPS needs to consolidate as needed,” said one neighborhood resident and former Jahn teacher who asked not be identified. “If there’s 40 kids using a building, that’s a waste of money. But I think at this has been going on for a number of years, the kids have been filtering over anyway. The good news is that Jahn will be able to hire another teacher.”
“Hopefully it will open up two more classrooms per grade,” said Jahn parent Alejandra DeJesus. “More money for the students, more staff. A full-time music person, a computer person. A lot of those things are taken away when you don’t have the students you need for your budget.”
“I’m not thrilled about [the closure], but we’re working to find the best way to help out the situation,” said Waguespack. “If the kids have a safe learning environment then we’re all about helping them to learn.”
CPS says it will conduct public hearings for each of the proposed mergers and vote on the mergers at its April 27 Board meeting.
Roscoe View Journal contacted principals from Jahn and Schneider Elementaries, but they had not responded to our request as of publication.