Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stockton, Stewart & Trumbull Schools To Close; Stockton Students To Remain In Same Building

Just over a month ago, Chicago Public Schools announced that there were 129 elementary schools on its list of possible closures.  Three of them were in Uptown, and one was just outside our borders:
  • Stockton School, which CPS says is at 45% of capacity, is rated as a Level 3 school (not on probation), and would cost $400,000 to update the building
  • Stewart School, which is at 41% of capacity, is rated as a Level 2 school (not on probation), and would cost $16,500,000 to update the building.
  • Brennemann School, which is at 51% of capacity, is rated as a Level 2 school (not on probation), and would cost $8,500,000 to update the building.
  • Nearby Trumbull School, in Edgewater, is also on the list.  It is at 54% of capacity, is rated as a Level 3 school (not on probation), and would cost $16,300,000 to update the building.
Of the other schools in Uptown:  Disney, Goudy, Greeley (nearby in Lakeview), and McCutcheon were "safe" -- i.e, not on the list.

Today the official word went out.
CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett says no child will be transferred to a school with a lower scholastic ranking than the one he or she is currently attending.

We highly recommend reading School Cuts, which takes a closer look at the schools on CPS's closing list, and the School Utilization Map created by Josh Kalov and Derek Eder.

Update:  Here is a list of all school closings.

Graeme Stewart School
Joseph Stockton School


  1. Interesting. I don't have kids, I am wondering if people think this is good or bad.

  2. I-LP,

    I think I speak for everyone here and we all believe that YOU not having kids is a truly good thing.


    The Original and One and Only IrishPirate.

  3. The city just spent about 4 million dollars renovating Stockton! What nonsense is it to close it after the taxpayers renovated it? I think they are closing oublic schools and in their place opening charter school which will effect the teAcers union since charter schools dont have to hire union teachers.

  4. MsMosey, the building will remain and be called Courtenay. Stockton's kids will continue to attend class there, but they will be going to the Courtenay School.

    1. Question... Will the new "Courtenay" become a neighborhood school? Currently, the Courtenay school on Berteau has no boundaries. Will children who live within the boundaries of Stockton now have Stockton as their neighborhood school?

  5. Are the schools closing because of the strike? Do they have to close schools to pay for the raises? Do the teachers who teach at these schools just sit home now with their extra money? How does this work? Enquiring minds wants to know...

  6. And so the decisions are made. So be it. Perhaps if the "adults" that attended the CPS meeting at Truman had been more reasoned and less like kids throwing tantrums in the middle of a grocery aisle, the outcome would have been different. But that is water under the bridge now, and I hope that the disgruntled take their lemons and turn them into lemonade.

    NOW we can turn our attention to what happens with the closing Stewart School. It is an opportunity, not a failure, depending upon what the CPS and the Alderman and the neighborhood decide to do to re-purpose the building. Let's face it--it's a marvelous location, right across from the Wilson Yard stores and Truman College (sort of) and the Wilson/Sunnyside Red Line Station about to start construction, and it's right down the street from the nascent Uptown Entertainment District. Years ago, some people wanted to see Wilson Yard have loft-style housing for artists--Stewart would be a GREAT for a conversion to artist and MUSICIAN lofts and studios, bringing more housing to the neighborhood and welcoming more members of Chicago's creative class, along with studio and gallery and performance space that could draw more visitors and more businesses and restaurants serving them. A big plus for all.

    It's too bad, though, that so many millions of Wilson Yard TIF dollars were thrown away by Shiller on subsidizing "renovations" for the Voice of the People slumlords...that was money that COULD have been used for this, so that means that a private developer with private financing will probably have to do such a conversion of Stewart.

  7. Anyone else notice that the map has Stockton located at Wilson when it should be 2 blocks south at Montrose?

  8. bear60640 said

    Years ago, some people wanted to see Wilson Yard have loft-style housing for artists

    2004, I remember. I'm using the t-shirt as a dustrag.

  9. @ Toni. No.

    @ Bear: Voice of the People is the best scam ever! just ask IP he will know

  10. The problem with artist housing is the buildings need to meet strict criteria in term of codes for live/work facilities. Kilns, torches, etc. get used in studio spaces. The opportunity to build Wilson Yard to code was part of the appeal. The city even had the money for it at that time, separate from TIF.
    It's a wonderful idea, but unlikely to happen at Stewart.
    It's also unlikely CPS will let go of these buildings. I haven't heard anything mentioned, but based on the past, they let the buildings sit empty (the McCutchen annex on Kenmore) or lease them.
    This isn't the first time population trends have forced closings. My school closed the summer between 5th and 6th grade. It was leased to a couple different private schools and later re-opened as CPS again.

  11. Thanks for pointing out the error, CU. The map has been corrected.

  12. @Bear: "Perhaps if the "adults" that attended the CPS meeting at Truman had been more reasoned and less like kids throwing tantrums in the middle of a grocery aisle, the outcome would have been different."

    You don't really believe that. So, why say it? We all more-or-less knew this would be the outcome when the list was announced. Have a heart. There are some sad kids tonight. And, who knows how many Uptown teachers will lose their jobs.

  13. I-LP,

    Like the Dalai Lama I have been given a gift from the Almighty.

    I know how to utilize the google search engine at the top left hand corner of UU.

    Here is some information for those interested about "Voice of Da People" and TIF money.

    Between that and the purported per unit cost of the housing units at Wilson Yard, $400,000+ I as a taxpayer feel like a twenty dollar hooker at Wilson and Broadway.

    Used, abused, and unclean.

  14. According to DNAINFO Courtenay was a surprise target for the merger/closings.

    My theory, and I'm sticking to it, is that in order to take the heat off himself from elements of the black community Rahm decided to close the school closest to his house on Hermitage. Courtenay is less than a block from Casa La 9.5 Finger. Not that the little or littler or younger Emmanuel's go there.

    Since virtually every school closing is happening in the largely black neighborhoods on the south and west sides Rahmbo might be playing a wee bit of a game.

    In any case this could be a win for Uptown. Courtenay has a good reputation and perhaps they will continue their good work at the Stockton building.

  15. The New York Times had an interesting story the other day about how the land under some libraries and schools is being sold to private developers. Said developers then build new schools/libraries and then build apartments or condos above.

    That could be utilized in various places in Chicago if the zoning were dense enough for the parcel in question. For Uptown that would mean the locations closer to the lake generally.

    Stewart closing doesn't surprise me, but Brennemann not closing does.

    Dat's some valuable land right dere. I can just see some real estate developers whispering in Rahm's ear. "Da land, da land".

  16. Laura said...
    The problem with artist housing is the buildings need to meet strict criteria in term of codes for live/work facilities. Kilns, torches, etc. get used in studio spaces.

    An early step of gentrification, the "old-school method" if you'll pardon the pun, used to be artists and creatives moving into a neighborhood. Think Bucktown/Wicker Park 25 years ago, or Lakeview in the 80s.

    It has to happen organically, it can't be forced. "Artists'
    Residence Housing" is just as silly a notion today as it was for Wilson Yard nine years ago.

  17. I wounder if Stewart will get torn down by a private developer and turned into a residential development. That is a prime location near a brand new Wilson CTA entrance.

  18. I certainly don't know the complexities of the school shutdowns (nor do I care to enter the debate). Along the lines of "Justin Chicago," I pass Stewart daily and think it really is a beautiful property, with prime location. So what becomes of this soon to be shuttered facility? It seems much too large to re-purpose (at least without developer input/a large scale overhaul), and shuttered buildings have less than a good record in Uptown (be it in renovation/future tennant occupancy ala Uptown Theater, Borders, etc - or vagrants who make it their home). Just curious (though again, without entering into the debate, I realize there are kids, education, greater concerns, etc).

  19. Yes. It certainly is silly to think some thoughtfully planned development could happen here that merged affordable housing and commercial properties. The powers that be just won't let that happen, organically or otherwise. Silly thing, having a vision that straddled the two.
    Artists should starve and struggle, people should of course live in parks, under bridges, in cages. Shop at big box stores.
    Things worth fighting for.

  20. Stockton isn't really closing, they're just using this as an opportunity to get rid of the staff. Effectively this is a school turnaround, under the guise of closing Courtenay.

    Definitely two very, very different student bodies that will be merging. The ISAT scores tell a very interesting story.

    Good luck to all.

    Upwardly mobile parents of Courtenay, prepare to send your kids to private school!

    Thanks for the great advertisement for Private and Catholic schools, Rahm. Well done. Not only will we be losing buildings, we'll lose even more students! Then, we'll just give the school to a charter, and completely wash our hands of minority students while middle class minorities and whites are forced to pay cash out of pocket for education.

    Some system.

  21. Personally, I'm excited that they're rolling Courtenay into Stockton. I know the administration at Stockton has been working very hard to help it reach its potential and I'll be sad if they're all out of a job, but as a parent in the neighborhood with a child who so far seems to be advanced for his age it'll be so nice if I can send him to a neighborhood school that offers an accelerated track and a really involved parent group, as well as extra resources such as art and music and library.

    BB, maybe other parents like me who otherwise would have stayed far away from Stockton and only used it as a last resort if we didn't get any of our lottery choices (FWIW, if I had had to apply this year, Courtenay would have been on my list but Stockton would NOT) will also feel the same way and help chip in to raise Stockton/Courtenay's quality even higher. I hope the current parents there who are involved and have great kids/students don't run. Pretty much all the other parents I've talked to in this neighborhood and identify with plan to (or already do) send their kids to private schools or magnets, not Stockton, so this might actually be a chance for us to work together at stabilizing the neighborhood further through maintaining a quality neighborhood school. Only time will tell (and I still have 3-4 years to wait and see) but so far I'm feeling optimistic about Stockton's specific situation.

  22. I said this before, but I think it bears repeating. A closed school building will most likely become a charter school. A merged school overall scores will drop. The parents of the students who are doing fairly well will then send their kids to the new shiny school if they can't afford privaate or catholic. Once again we will be right back here, closing schools because of underutilization. There will be a few cps schools left open for warehousing purposes. Maybe we shouuld look at how the problem got this bad, then maybe we could come up with some viable plans or at the very least, not repeat the same horrible mistakes.

  23. I'm curious, are we sure Courtenay @ Stockton is going to have a separate accelerated track? It's not, from what I've read. I'd be livid if I was a current Stockton parent and the new school comes in and just sets up shop to the exclusion of the former Stockton kids. That's not justice, that's not right.

    Stark differences.

  24. God, I hope Stewart goes to private developers and some real development gets done... speaking of which, what ever happened to the Prison Grey folks, aka The Flats/Cedar Street Cos., and their new headquarters across the street? Wasn't this supposed to be done in December? If they cannot even get their headquarters done, I hold very little hope out for the other buildings they are accumulating and darkening the skies of Uptown with now...


  25. "Of particular interest to readers may be the fact that Courtenay will take on Stockton's attendance boundary and become a neighborhood school rather than a magnet school."

    (thanks, UU)

  26. Toni, because of the strike? Maybe you should start reading things. Ya know, think for yourself?

    Bear60640, how naive of you to think that any of the public meetings with parents/community members had ANY bearing (no pun intended) on the list of closures. The decision was made long ago, that was a dog and pony show that liberals eat up like candy.

  27. Maybe our priorities are skewed? Maybe if we didn't spend $88,000 (avg) per incarcerated child compared to just $10,500 (avg) on education per child, we'd be in better shape.