Before the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting Wednesday, Ames Middle School supporters will call on the board to halt any further action on converting the Logan Square school into a Marine-affiliated academy until after the March 18 primary election.
Parents and others with the "Save Ames Committee" want the board to “take no action and particularly sign no contracts that would bind (Chicago Public Schools) to convert Ames to a military school" until after voters have weighed in on a non-binding ballot referendum on March 18 in eight city precincts near the school.
The referendum question, which will appear in four precincts in the 26th Ward, three in the 35th Ward and one in the 1st Ward, asks: Should Ames Middle School be maintained as a neighborhood school, rather than being converted into a military high school?"
Under the school conversion plan approved by the board in December, Ames will become a "Marine-affiliated school," serving 7th through 12th graders starting next school year. Ames will see a change in academic focus and have an open enrollment to all CPS students.
The board approved the conversion plan despite opposition from a number of parents and students who recently voted overwhelmingly to keep Ames open as a neighborhood middle school. More than 2,400 area residents have also signed a petition in favor of keeping Ames set up in its current state.
In a release, members of the Save Ames Committee said State Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), County Commissioner Edwin Reyes and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) have also sent letters to the board, asking its members "to listen to the will of the voters."
"Save Ames believes that the Chicago Board of Education did not fully understand that the community stands behind the Ames community school and will prove this through the results of the March 18 referendum," the community group said in a release. "If the referendum passes, the Save Ames Committee will again approach the board in late March to ask that it reconsider its vote."