Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Ald. Cappleman Trib Editorial: 46th Ward Kids Need New Gym

Ald. Cappleman penned the following in Chicago Tribune "Letters Voice of the People"

"Every public school has hurdles to overcome, but McCutcheon Elementary in the 46th Ward faces a long list of challenges. More than a quarter of its students experience homelessness. One-third have cognitive disabilities, including autism. And 3 out of 4 students live in poverty.

McCutcheon does an admirable job educating the most vulnerable students in our community. But now, the school finds itself with a new challenge: its affluent neighbors.

McCutcheon is one of only five schools in Chicago’s 500-school district without its own gymnasium. Because of strong advocacy by me and McCutcheon’s former principal Gwyneth Kram, the school is finally getting a new gym as part of Chicago Public Schools’ billion-dollar capital investment in schools.

A new gym will be a godsend for McCutcheon, which has been leasing a gym at the neighboring Boys & Girls Club. The new elevator planned for the gym (linked to the main school) will mean teachers can easily bring kids in wheelchairs upstairs in the school, instead of physically carrying them, as they currently do. And the school will no longer have to spend valuable instructional time bundling up its students — many with cognitive disabilities — to bring them down the block for physical education class.

Some neighbors have filed a lawsuit to try to stop construction of the new gym.

A neighboring block club says the McCutcheon gym will have a negative impact on the neighborhood’s image (their words, not mine). These neighbors proposed that the entire school — not just the gym — should be relocated to another site.

The neighbors also argue that the gym will impede pedestrian access to Sheridan Road from some directions. CPS and my office have been very receptive to working with architects and neighbors to ensure that safe pedestrian access to Sheridan Road is preserved.

McCutcheon recently won a five-year community-schools grant that will allow students and community members to participate in productive programming in the neighborhood, where gang activity can be a concern. A new gym will provide a safe gathering space after school and on weekends — which is especially important since the neighboring Boys & Girls Club is not open on weekends.

Having a dedicated gym is a matter of equity for McCutcheon’s deserving students, 85 percent of whom are children of color. It’s time for neighbors to support this amazing school serving some of the highest-need students in our community."

— Ald. James Cappleman, 46th


  1. There are times when some of our NIMBY neighbors defy the laws of physics and both suck and blow at the same time--it's a Bart Simpson quote.

    Really, you're against a gym for one of the few schools in CPS that doesn't have a gym? Just STFU. In fact, first walk out onto one of those long breakwaters along the lake, jump in and then STFU.

    Horrid thing is this likely cost Capp a few votes because the Capplehaters don't give a rat's ass what he does and the NIMBYs expect their asses to be kissed constantly and if he doesn't do EVERYTHING they want he's a failure.

    Similar thing happened with the women's shelter he supported. Thing is though once he decides to support something like those two things opposition is NOT going to get him to change his mind. If anything it just makes him more determined.

    Really, you're against a school gym and then sue to try to get the school closed? Just STFU.

    Get over yourselves--you idiots act like you're starring in your own movie.

    I don't agree with every single decision Capp has made, but I hope he has some Capplecupcakes at the opening of this gym and sends some to the next meeting of the block club that opposed this.

    Really have you folks no shame? It's a rhetorical question.

  2. Wow. I have some seriously shi**y neighbors if they think it's appropriate to protest improvements to the neighborhood school. This is embarrassing for Uptown. To anyone reading this who is part of this protest, please move to another neighborhood. We don't want you here.

  3. What block club filed the lawsuit? A quick google doesn't show anything. It would be nice to have this lawsuit covered in some form of news to make it easy to be shared around so we can gather support for the gym

  4. There must be some way to out the ass hats behind this. Who filed the suit?

  5. Are there renderings or plans for this gym that show it's proposed location anywhere? It's always easier to understand both sides if one knows the specifics. Cappleman said there were no specifics last time I asked, has that changed?