SCHOOL CLOSINGS CEO Arne Duncan announced CPS would close five schools and consolidate four others into two due to dwindling enrollment. Slated for closure are Colman and Donoghue elementaries and Arts of Living, Tesla and Flower high schools. Consolidations include merging Munoz-Marin into Lowell, and Woodson North into Woodson South. Duncan also said DuSable High will close temporarily to be converted into small schools by 2005, and Lindblom College Prep would shut down for two years to undergo renovations. The measures are up for approval at the May School Board meeting.

AT CLARK STREET Renee Grant-Mitchell, former deputy chief of the Office of Specialized Services, has replaced Sue Gamm as the head of the department. Gamm will continue to advise CPS on policy and legislation as special counsel. … James M. Sullivan, who has served as interim inspector general since Maribeth Vander Weele resigned a year ago, has been named permanent successor.

PRINCIPALS Peter M. Jonikaitis, interim principal at Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy, is now contract principal. Jerry Travlos, assistant principal at Smyser, was awarded a four-year contract as principal. … Principal Fulton Nolen was asked to leave Lindblom College Prep amid concerns about school finances and student discipline. Assistant Principal Rean Sanders takes over as interim through June.

PRINCIPAL RETIREMENTS Arlene Singleton Coffey, Esmond; Dean K. Gustafson, Woodlawn. … Shirley Chapman is interim principal at Esmond and will become contract principal on July 1; Kweku Embil is acting principal at Woodlawn.

RENAMED SCHOOLS Responding to requests from local school councils, the School Board approved name changes for the following schools: Dawes was renamed the Hampton Fine and Performing Arts School after jazz artist Lionel Hampton, and Davis/Shields becomes Columbia Explorers Academy in tribute to the astronauts who died in February’s space shuttle disaster.

DONE DEAL Gov. Rod Blagojevich on April16 signed into law a measure that restores some bargaining rights to the Chicago Teachers Union. The bill, which had the support of CPS and Mayor Daley, requires the School Board to negotiate the impact of workplace decisions, such as layoffs or class size, with the union. The measure also included a provision to double the number of charter schools in Chicago to 30.

FUNDS FOR SMALL SCHOOLS The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give $7.6 million to CPS to create 12 new small high schools over the next five years. Now operating nine small high schools, the school district will open two new small schools by 2004, and plans a total of 32 by 2007. CPS and the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative will issue a request for proposals in June.

CONFLICT RESOLVED Murray Language Academy has called off its request for a two-year moratorium on feeding students into Canter Middle. Along with two other Hyde Park elementary schools, Murray agreed last fall to relocate its 7th and 8th grades to a newly reconfigured Canter. But Canter’s rocky opening set off a revolt, and by February, Murray’s LSC petitioned the board to take back its upper grades and submitted a list of criteria for the school to meet. The board denied the moratorium, but agreed to honor nearly all the demands, including $400,000 in renovations and an upgraded curriculum. (Catalyst March 2003)

Compiled by Catalyst staff

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