Although the Marine Math and Science Academy has merged with Ames Middle School, Chicago school district officials say the Marine school's original location has not closed.
Last fall, city and school officials announced that Ames, located at 1920 N Hamlin Ave. in the Logan Square neighborhood, would become a "Marine-affiliated school."
As part of that plan, Ames teachers and principals at the school were expected to remain there, however educators from Marine Math and Science Academy would come in to help with the military program and instruct new grade levels added to accommodate older students.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials previously said that Marine Math and Science Academy would stay at its original West Side location, 145 S. Campbell Ave., which it shares with Phoenix Military Academy.
But the Chicago Sun-Times has learned that no Marine Academy students are currently enrolled at the school's original Campbell Avenue building. Marine Academy staff, including its principal, have also transferred to the Ames building. Students at the Phoenix Military Academy, meanwhile, have moved into the Marine Academy's side of the Campbell Avenue building.
CPS maintains that the original Marine Academy remains open. The district also claims that the Marine Academy and Ames arrangement has not gone against Illinois law or its temporary moratorium on school closings, put in place after a record number of schools were closed last year.
The district “did not close Marine Math and Science Academy,” CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey told the newspaper.
“No students or families chose to attend Marine Math and Science Academy this year,” he added. “The vast majority of students chose to attend Marine Leadership Academy at Ames, and some also chose Phoenix Military school.”
But Jackson Potter, a staff coordinator with the Chicago Teachers Union, said school officials previously told the union that “there would be a number of students still at Marine, and staff that could help with the program there.”
“If there’s no students at Marine, there should have been a hearing, and this kind of goes to the lack of democratic engagement with parents and community around decisions they’re required to ask them about before they make them,” he said. “I’m not a lawyer, but certainly they are required by law to hold hearings prior to any closing or consolidation, and in this case they didn’t do that.”
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