“It's no secret that Chicago has a number of significantly under enrolled schools,” Mazany said. “When every dollar matters, we can't afford to have inefficient operations.”
Some 4,800 students would be impacted by the moves, with around 700 of those changing school buildings in the fall, Mazany said.
He said up to 100 of the 200 teaching positions at merging schools would be eliminated, with those teachers being considered for reassignment. Eight principals’ positions would be lost; Mazany said one of those eight already is planning to retire, and three do not have current contracts.
Despite onetime costs associated with the consolidations, Mazany said the district will see savings in the long run. He did not provide specific budget figures, however. The CPS budget deficit is now an estimated $720 million, he said, with much of that attributed to the loss of one-time revenue, such as federal stimulus money. About $236 million can be attributed to the backlog in state payments, he said.
Among the proposals:
--Neighborhood schools Philo Carpenter Elementary and Mancel Talcott Elementary would be consolidated at Talcott’s campus at 1840 W Ohio St. Ogden International High School, a magnet school now sharing space with Carpenter at 1250 W. Erie St., would have that entire building.
--Hans Christian Andersen Community Academy Elementary School, a neighborhood school, will be merged into LaSalle II Magnet Elementary School at 1148 N Honore St.
--Neighborhood schools George Schneider Elementary and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Elementary will merge under Jahn’s name at 3149 N. Wolcott Ave. Alcott High School for the Humanities, a small school already operating in the Schneider building at 2957 N. Hoyne Ave., will have that entire building.
--Avondale Elementary, 2945 N. Sawyer Ave., and Logandale Middle School at 3212 W. George St., will form one pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school, but both locations will stay open and attendance evened out.
--Three small high schools -- Best Practice High School, Chicago Discovery Academy High School and Bowen Global Visions Academy High School – will be merged with a fourth, New Millennium High School, at 2710 E. 89th Street.
--Neighborhood schools Jacob Beidler Elementary and Willa Cather Elementary will consolidate at Cather’s campus at 2908 W. Washington Blvd. Urban Prep high school, a charter school now operating at Cather, will move to the Beidler building at 3151 W. Walnut St.
--George W. Tilton Elementary’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten would be phased out in the fall, with incoming kindergarten students assigned to to Guglielmo Marconi Elementary Community Academy at 230 N. Kolmar Ave. Tilton would eventually being phased out entirely. Chicago Talent Development High School, a charter school, will move into freed-up space in Tilton, 223 N. Keeler Ave.
The Board of Education will host a public hearing and community meetings in the coming months, Mazany said. The board hopes to vote on the measure at next month's meeting. If approved, the changes would go into affect next fall.
He acknowledged that the timeframe, “is not as long of a window as would have been desired.”