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In November Jones College Prep described the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program that will begin with the opening of their new building in Fall 2013. While the new building has been under construction community members in the South Loop have been promoting the idea of turning the old building into a community school that would accept any student from the neighborhood.

There are many reasons that have been voiced over why a new area school would be beneficial to the community. The current school, Phillips Academy, is fed from a very large geographical area, as evidence by this map found on the CPS website:

The Phillips boundary is the dark purple on the east side that starts from the river and moves south to 59th. Over the past few years downtown has seen a noticeable increase in residential properties and amenities including grocery stores and retail stores, like Target, making it more feasible in the eyes of many people to live in the city and consider raising a family. However, census data shows that many families move to the suburbs once children are born or reach school age. Creating the question at hand, if there was a neighborhood school that served the Loop and the South Loop would more families stay in the city while the children attend high school?

Many community groups have been arguing that a new area school would retain and help attract more families to the city. The Re-Use Jones Campaign helped voice this opinion to City Hall. On Tuesday afternoon Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference across the street from Jones to address this subject and announce the solution that had been reached with CPS.

To the disappointment of the Re-Use Jones campaigners the city has decided to keep the old building, but use it to expand the Jones program and give Jones the space to nearly double attendance. One concern that had been raised by parents is that students aren’t testing in to the charter schools. This solution is designed to offer a better chance for students to test in.

The solution offered by the city does not rest well with everyone. Alderman Bob Fioretti plans to continue the push for a new area school.

For a more thorough report on Tuesday’s press conference please see this article from the Chicago Sun Times.

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