Growing Pains at Waters Cause Elementary to Shutter Tuition-Based Pre-K in 2012-13 School Year

By Patty Wetli | Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waters Elementary School. Credit: Mike Fourcher

Call Waters Elementary, 4540 N. Campbell Ave., a victim of its own success. “Our trend is we are growing,” said Principal Titia Crespo. As a result, with increasing numbers of neighborhood children enrolling at the well-regarded school, Crespo recently announced that Waters would have to eliminate its tuition-based preschool program in the 2012-13 school year.

The issue comes down to space. “This past year, we had to open a third kindergarten class,” Crespo explained. In planning for the upcoming school year, “We have no way of knowing how many kindergartners are out there. Right now we’re focused on K-8. Those are the classrooms we have to have, those are the students we have to accommodate first.”

Parents with youngsters already accepted into Waters TBPK program, which enrolled a maximum of 20 students, were notified of the school’s decision in December. Crespo pointed families to Ravenswood Elementary, 4332 N. Paulina St., as an alternative, after confirming with her counterpart that Ravenswood had available spots. McPherson Elementary, 4728 N. Wolcott Ave., will also debut a TBPK program in the coming school year.

“I sent a note downtown [to Chicago Public Schools headquarters] and I said, ‘It’s a good problem to have,’” said Crespo, who at the same time expressed sadness that the school’s hard work in building its reputation has led to turning away some of its youngest learners.

In a note to parents on the Waters website, Crespo stated: “We are so sorry to see this program go, as we know it has helped many families allow for a full-time option for their children, but we must ensure that there is room for our future K-8 students. We have loved watching your kids grow and learn, and hope to see you back at Waters for kindergarten.”

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  • Anonymous

    Make the entire pre-K program tuition based.   Since I’m the one paying – I’d like the option.

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