Alderman proposes using shuttered school on South Side

Alderman proposes using shuttered school on South Side (Tribune illustration)

The building occupied by Canter Middle School until this summer, when it was shut down as part of massive districtwide school closings, would be taken over by the 7th and 8th graders attending Kenwood Academy in the fall of 2015 under a proposal by the local alderman.

Ald. William Burns, 4th, said in a statement that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett met with Kenwood Academy officials and agreed that “the move was the right choice for the overcrowded” school at 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. The move would require board approval.

In a statement, Byrd-Bennett said that “I support the proposal from the Alderman and the community to expand Kenwood Academy to offer more students the opportunity to attend a high-quality neighborhood school and allow Kenwood to grow to its full potential.”

By moving Kenwood’s middle school program into nearby Canter at 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., space would become available for an additional 250 students.

Kenwood is a Level 2 school, the middle of the three levels Chicago Public Schools uses to rate schools based on academic performance. Kenwood touts an 83 percent college enrollment rate and award-winning performing and fine arts program.

Canter was among the nearly 50 schools the district voted to close last year because of underenrollment. Most of the schools closed last year but Canter was one of two schools that was shut down this summer.

Following the school closings, aldermen and with community groups were asked to help find new uses for the shuttered buildings. At a town hall meeting last month, Burns suggested Kenwood’s middle school program be moved to Canter.

nahmed@tribune.com