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Save Our Schools
Press Release West Side Elected Officials, Community Leaders Unveil Alternative Plan to School Closures
For Immediate Release: March 21, 2013 Contact: Valerie F. Leonard, (773) 521-3137 or (773) 571-3886 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
The Committee to Save North Lawndale Schools released an alternative plan to school closures at the Better Boys Foundation earlier today, in anticipation of an imminent announcement from CPS to close as many as 129 schools. "My district could lose up to 36 schools, for a total capital disinvestment of nearly $600 million", said Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, whose 2nd District includes the North Lawndale community. The North Lawndale community could lose 12 schools, for a total capital disinvestment of nearly $200 million. The committee is concerned about the potential negative impacts of massive school closings, including interruptions in student achievement; increased student mobility and dropout rates; exacerbated blight conditions; reduced property values; increased vandalism and violence. The Committee to Save North Lawndale Schools will create a community schools collaborative to work with schools and the North Lawndale Community Advisory Council to strengthen local schools' ability to deliver favorable academic outcomes while serving as bona fide community centers focusing on the needs of the family, students and community members. The collaborative will 1) develop programming that will reduce truancy and delinquency and cut the pipeline from school to prison; 2) enhance health, fitness and nutrition for students and their families, eradicate the food desert and expand opportunities for healthy eating and positive lifestyle changes; 3) augment the school curricula with workforce development training that will provide students with exposure to career choices in manufacturing, technology, health and the trades, beginning at the elementary school level; 4) provide basic skills and workforce training and development opportunities for parents 5) provide outlets for sports and recreation, arts and culture. The plan includes a proposed structure, implementation schedule and budget. The estimated startup cost for the initiative is $322,000, not including in-kind contributions from collaborative partners. The collaborative will be looking to create win-win alternatives that will ease the financial burden of school operations while creating greater synergies between the City, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Public Libraries, City Colleges, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, elected officials, community based organizations, local residents, parents and students. We welcome community based organizations, small businesses (as appropriate),clinics, etc. to rent space in school buildings, subject to approval of principals, LSC's and the schools' plans for improvement. The collaborative also recommends the conversion of classroom space to libraries where possible. The Committee to Save North Lawndale Schools (CSNLS) is comprised of North Lawndale stakeholders who have come together to provide an alternative plan to avert school closings. Members of the ad hoc committee include elected officials, local community-based organizations, and engaged individuals . To date, the group consists of the following members: Congressman Danny K. Davis, Representative Arthur Turner, Commissioner Robert Steele, Alderman
Michael Chandler, Dan Cantrell, Congressman Danny K. Davis' Office; David Evers, Commissioner Robert Steele's Office; Trina Mangrum, Alderman Chandler's Office; Dr. Betty Green, North Lawndale Community Advisory Council; Darren Tillis, North Lawndale Community Advisory Council; Debra Wesley, Sinai Community Institute, Annetta Wilson, Sankofa Safe Child Initiative; Mary Visconti, Better Boys Foundation; Sherneron Hilliard, Family Focus-Lawndale; Michael Trout, Y-MEN, Billy Brooks, Better Boys Foundation; Lorenzo O'Bryant, Family Focus-Lawndale, Michelle Young, Action Now; Gladys Woodson 4300 West 21st Place Block Club; Willie Mae Bowling, 4200 West Cullerton Block Club; Windy Pearson, Action Now; Mariame Kaba, Project Nia; Cheryl Francis, Chicago Area Project; Valerie F. Leonard, Lawndale Alliance; Willie Cole, North Lawndale Supporter; Margaret Davis, Lawndale Resident; Nicole "Nikki" Harvey, Eden Advocacy CDC/ WSBNAACP, Bernard Clay, WSBNAACP; Cynthia Williams, Sinai Community Institute; William Riley, Eden Advocacy CDC; Katie Russell, Better Boys Foundation; Wayne Stiles, Better Boys Foundation; Benjamin Bedenfield, Y-MEN; Xavier Ramey, Y-MEN. Any questions regarding the plan may be directed to Valerie F. Leonard at 773-521-3137, or email@example.com. ###