Burley Elementary School.
When it comes to community involvement in a neighborhood school, Burley Elementary, 1630 W. Barry St., is an overachiever. Burley has a “Friends of” organization and a Parent-Teacher Association as well as a Local School Council. RVJtalked to Friends of Burley president Darcy DeWolfe about recruiting LSC candidates, the challenges the new council will face and the sentiment for a longer school day.
How many candidates are running for the LSC this year?
There are seven candidates for six parent spots. I think the community member is not coming back, and I know of one candidate (for that spot).
How much trouble did you have recruiting people to run?
Not too much. We have more candidates than slots. We have school-wide emails and they (teachers) sent flyers home in backpacks.
What major issues facing Burley Elementary will the LSC will have to consider?
Until (late March), it was mainly budget and maintaining our current staffing and our level of education based on the budget we get from CPS. However, principal (Barbara Kent) announced (at the last LSC meeting) that she’s retiring. That changes a lot of things because now the LSC has to recruit and hire a new principal, on top of still having the budgetary challenges.
What’s the biggest misconception about what the LSC does?
In my experience, schools run their LSCs in different ways. Burley has an LSC and a PTA and a “Friends of” organization. Some other schools, those can overlap. Our LSC at Burley is very focused on the school improvement plan and the logistics of running the school, as opposed to parent activities and events. That’s the PTA’s realm. The Friends group raises money and that’s it. We do that so that the PTA doesn’t have to, and can focus on classroom support.
What is the Burley community saying about CPS’ plan to lengthen the school day?
Most parents are opposed to the seven-and-a-half-hour day, and we did a survey at Burley that showed most parents were in favor of a longer day, but between six and seven hours. And we are unclear about how we would pay for that, because all information points to us getting a smaller budget.
Burley Elementary School’s LSC election is set for April 18th.