CPS to consider Skinner North

  • By Paul D. Bowker
  • Education reporter
  • December 16, 2008 @ 9:42 AM

The Chicago Board of Education tomorrow will decide whether to approve the creation of a hotly contested second campus for Skinner Elementary Classical School.

Until now, Skinner has been one school, temporarily located this year at 1443 N. Ogden Ave., and serving 617 students in pre-kindgarten through grade 8.

Skinner Classical will move next fall to a new building at 1260 W. Adams, but will share that building with a fine arts and technology magnet program.

Under the proposal the board will vote on tomorrow, a new Skinner North school would be established at the North Ogden location. It would also have a classical program, which features an accelerated academic track.

Some Skinner Classical parents have opposed creating a second campus, and are also against sharing the Adams campus with a magnet program. 

“Skinner, as we know it today, will cease to exist in an eight-year period,” Ronald Barnes, a parent, told the board at last month’s meeting.

Gaute Grindheim, vice president of a Chicago-based architectural firm, says the Skinner parent group had meetings with CPS officials to express their dissatisfaction and concerns about overcrowding. CPS officials did not alter major parts of its plans, though, he says.

Also tomorrow, the board will consider the renewal of two charter school agreements, the Noble Network of Charter Schools and Namaste Charter School. It will also consider canceling controlled enrollment at five elementary schools, mostly due to decreased enrollment. Controlled enrollment is sometimes used in cases of overcrowding or schools near building capacity.

Also before the board will be a new policy on eligibility requirements for principal candidates. The policy is in addition to state school code requirements. At schools that have elected local school councils, a principal is elected from a candidate pool meeting CPS requirements.

The board meeting is open to the public, and public comment is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Sign-ups are from 8 to 9 a.m.

The regular meeting will commence at about 12:30 p.m., followed by an executive session closed to the public. Board of Education meetings are held at the CPS Central Office downtown, 125 S. Clark.

Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.