Ames Middle School parents plan to deliver new petitions and ballots
to the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday, showing adults and students
overwhelmingly oppose affiliating the school with the Marine Corps next
During a vote last week on report card pick-up day, 309 parents and adults from Ames and two of its feeder schools, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary and William P. Nixon Elementary, voted against converting Ames, located at 1920 N. Hamlin Ave., into a military high school. Just 11 parents were in support of the conversion plan.
of the 488 Ames students who voted, 96 percent want a community
school, while 6 percent said they favored a military academy.
Meanwhile, 2,481 parents from the schools in the 26th
Ward and Logan Square recently signed a petition in favor of Ames remaining a
neighborhood school, according to members of the Logan Square School Facilities Council, which helped organize the petition and vote.
According to Ames parents and those on the facilities council,
the military conversion plan, initially pushed by Ald. Roberto
Maldonado (26th), "got a powerful shellacking at the ballot box."
808 voters sent a clear message – converting Ames into a selective
enrollment military school goes against the will of the community," the parents said in a news release. "These numbers blow away the 300-person survey that Alderman Maldonado purports to have."
Last November, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association conducted its first community survey on the matter, which found that some 87 percent of the 357 respondents did not want a military high school at Ames.
Maldonado was first to submit the military-conversion idea to the Chicago Board of Education, and Ames parents and Logan Square residents have voiced concerns about the proposal over the past two years, citing uneasiness with the prospect of losing their neighborhood school and the lack of community input on the plan.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and city officials announced at the end of October that Ames would become a
"Marine-affiliated school," serving 7th through 12th graders. Currently, Ames teachers and principals would remain at the school, although more
teachers would be brought in for the military program and the added
grade levels, according to CPS.
As part of the proposal,
current Ames students can participate in the program next year and general education curriculum will be made available to them. Students would, however,
be required to opt-in to some of the military-focused "traditions" and
"rituals," Ames Principal Turon Ivy said at a recent LSC meeting.