Sunday, January 24, 2016

Victory in Little Village!

Little Village Community Fights Back to Victory Against CPS!
By Jim Vail

ILLUSTRATION: Saucedo sit-in
The Saucedo and Telpochcalli communities raise their fists in victory after defeating CPS and its crazy plan to co-locate another high school inside its building.

The valiant teachers, parents and students at Saucedo and Telpochcalli fought back hard to defeat the Chicago Public Schools' proposal to co-locate Spry High School into the Saucedo building.

The Little Village community held rallies, distributed flyers, spoke to the media, and even occupied the Saucedo school before CPS officials agreed to postpone co-locating the school and give the community one year to come up with a better idea. reported that hundreds of parents, teachers, students and other community members attended two community hearings CPS held at Saucedo where they all said no to the district's proposal to co-locate.

The CPS officials, including Area 7 Network Chief Minerva Garcia-Sanchez and James Dispensa from the office of demographics and planning who designed the plan, agreed the vote will not come up at the Feb. board of education meeting and will be postponed for one year, community organizations and stakeholders will be involved in a "community-run, community-driven process" to come up with proposals for "Marshall Square schools," and one CPS Board of Education member will do a walk-through while the school is in session at Saucedo to confirm that in fact there is not enough room for a third school, reported. 

Dispensa is notorious for planning the many school closings over the years by configuring school plans that some argued dated back to the 1920s when every room in the building was supposed to house 30 kids, thus negating the need for any special education, art, computer or other classrooms necessary for the 21st century.

Several politicians joined the activists in their fight, including Ald. George Cardenas, who at first did not support them, but like any good politician, he could see which way the wind was blowing. State rep Silvana Tabares also supported the activists, CTU reported. Tabares, who received election money from pro-education reform groups like Stand for Children, won her election against a CTU endorsed candidate.

The victory perhaps comes in the wake of the valiant efforts of the Dyet hunger strikers whose hunger strike kept the Bronzeville high school open.

However, CPS did not listen to the hunger strikers who had proposed to open a green high school focused on training the students for a future in environmentally-friendly work projects.

Therefore, Little Village activists beware: celebrate your victory now, but do not rest. The masters of the city still have their plans that usually do not meet eye to eye with the community.

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