Emanuel appeared with Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett at Jones College Prep, characterizing the move to keep the school's old building operational when a new selective enrollment campus opens as a way to stop parents across the city from moving to the suburbs in search of quality high schools.
"More parents will have the choice to stay in the city and send their kids to a high quality high school or a high quality education than before," he said. "Because we all know, when those letters arrive, sometimes there's a for sale sign."
But Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, argues the explosive growth in housing around downtown in the past 15 years requires a new neighborhood high school to keep people from selling their homes.
"Census data shows what many residents have said, that more than 40 percent of the families with children are leaving this area when the children reach school age,” Fioretti said in a news release. “Converting the current Jones building into a neighborhood school will help to keep more families in the City, which will benefit the economy of the entire City.”
The mayor's plan will increase the total student population at Jones from 900 to 1,700 by 2016. Jones will add programs focusing on pre-engineering and pre-law, and neighborhood residents will be given first shot at those 300 seats, according to a city news release.