49th Ward Alderman and Rahm loyalist, Joe Moore
Last August 49th Ward Alderman and Rahm loyalist Joe Moore announced his intention to have CPS close Rogers Park’s Eugene Field School, blaming an enrollment drop.
Field would merge with Kilmer school, Field staff would have to look for jobs elsewhere and the Field building would be turned over to selective enrollment Decatur.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said he’s proposing two Rogers Park elementary schools with declining enrollments — Kilmer and Field — to potentially merge by September 2017, and move Decatur Classical School from West Ridge into the building left vacant by Field.
The biggest reason: a 37 percent drop (or about 4,444 residents) in school-aged children living in the Rogers Park neighborhood between 2000 and 2014, Moore said.
Projections of enrollments over the next five years at Kilmer, a traditional K-8 school, and Field, a 5-8 school that lost fourth grade to New Field Elementary for the upcoming school year, reflect the decrease in elementary-aged residents in the neighborhood.
According to data from Chicago Public Schools, Field Elementary School, 7019 N. Ashland Ave., is expected to have 95 fewer students than last year, in part due to the grade loss. By 2021, the school is expected to have only 176 students — well below its “ideal” capacity of 690, by CPS standards.
Moore said the decision to move fourth grade from Field to New Field wasn’t related to his idea to eventually merge Field into Kilmer.
Similarly, Kilmer Elementary, at 6700 N. Greenview Ave., is expected to drop from 702 students this fall to 583 by fall 2021, Moore said.
The plan would involve the closure of Field School and its student body being absorbed into Kilmer’s.
Rather than leaving the building vacant, Field School could then be occupied by Decatur Classical Elementary School currently at 7030 N. Sacramento Ave. in West Ridge.
Decatur is a selective-enrollment public CPS school that draws high-performing students from across the city.
A vanishing species, another Chicago neighborhood open enrollment public school would be closed.
Those August plans seem to have changed.
In a letter to constituents, Moore announced, “In light of Field School’s new Level 1 rating, I have decided to place on a temporary hold my proposal to merge Field and Kilmer schools. I still believe we need to plan for the future and address the issues posed by declining enrollment and under-utilization in our local schools. I look forward to continuing those planning discussions.”
Meanwhile, the Rogers Park UNO charter is not faring as well. Scores are down.
Said Moore, “Unfortunately, UNO Rogers Park continues to struggle. Rated a Level 1+ school just two years ago, UNO received a Level 2 rating this year. I will be working with CPS administrators to address some of the concerns with the school.”