West Town school enrollment falls short: CPS report

West Town schools don't have enough students, according to a Chicago Public Schools assessment, with 11 of 16 schools considered "underutilized."

Wells High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave., is at one-third capacity, the analysis says. The neighborhood high school for East Village is angling for designation as a citywide language academy to fill classrooms. In the past, CPS also has addressed space needs by removing temporary structures and "co-locating" separately run schools in the same building.

Another designated neighborhood high school, Clemente at 1147 N. Western Ave., was rated only 24% full. Chicago Arts, Prologue and Ogden high schools also on the underutilized list.

Two East Village elementary schools that feed Wells also are deemed "underutilized," with Talcott at 58% and Otis at 63%. Chopin, De Diego and Lozano also are on the low-enrollment list. At 120% of targeted enrollment, Columbus is rated "efficient." So is Mitchell, at 83% capacity.

Among nearby magnet schools, La Salle II is under-enrolled at 62% and Pritzker is on track at 99% of district targets. The report excludes alternative schools and charters not in CPS buildings. Enrollment targets are based on an average of 30 students in each homeroom.

None of the schools are in immediate danger of closing. DNAinfo notes that a similar space utilization report was used in Chicago's 2013 school closings. However, those closings triggered a five-year moratorium on closing additional facilities due to low enrollment.

Peabody School in East Village was one of the shuttered schools; its annex at 1434 W. Augusta Blvd. is now Rowe Middle School, a charter school run by Northwestern Settlement. The report labels Rowe's main campus at 1424 N. Cleaver St. as the only overcrowded West Town school, running at 124% of capacity.

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