Jones Prep plan for local kids detailed

Neighborhood students will take one special class, all others same as selective enrollment

09/12/2012 10:00 PM

By BEN MEYERSON
Editor

22 Comments - Add Your Comment

Two years after Chicago Public Schools officials signed off on plans for a new Jones College Prep in the South Loop, the school’s principal revealed details of one of the new building’s most notable features: a neighborhood component.

When Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) approved giving more than $100 million in local TIF cash from South Loop residents’ property taxes for the new school’s construction, he asked CPS to offer local residents something in return at the selective enrollment high school: spots for local kids.

CPS said they’d provide 300 neighborhood seats at Jones, but how exactly students would be integrated into Jones was a mystery up until recently.

On Tuesday night, as schools around the district were closed due to the Chicago Teachers Union’s strike, Jones’ local school council gathered in the otherwise-empty building’s cafeteria as Principal Joe Powers explained how the program will work.

Jones’ neighborhood seats will be a Career and Technical Education program, which allows for students to get into the school if they want to focus on one of two areas — pre-law or pre-engineering. It’ll be open first and foremost to students living within a neighborhood boundary, which hasn’t been drawn yet. The remaining seats will be open to students citywide.

Students in the local program will only take one class at a time that’s specific to pre-law or pre-engineering. The rest of the time, they’ll take the same classes as regular Jones students.

The result, Powers said, will be a group of students that’s well-integrated.

“Once students are admitted, with the exception of their scheduling, there’ll be no distinction between the students,” he said.

That wasn’t always the plan for the new school, though. Initial plans called for all the neighborhood students to be warehoused on one of the new school’s seven floors, he said.

“Originally, when I was shown the first building plans for Jones College Prep, they had basically a separate floor for a neighborhood component that was going to be a school within a school,” said Powers. “And I said, ‘Where’s my contract, I’d be happy to hand it back to you right now,’ because I wouldn’t do it. I don’t believe in that kind of thing.”

“I’ve seen schools where they have an us-versus-them sort of situation in a school, and that’s not we want for Jones,” he added.

Local students will be able to get into Jones by applying for either the selective enrollment process that traditionally has been used to admit kids into the school, or through the separate Career and Technical Education application process, Powers said. He recommended anyone who wants to get into Jones fill out both applications.

If seats in the neighborhood program aren’t filled with local students, then Powers said they’d take kids from outside the neighborhood boundary. They’ll likely use that ability to grab students who just missed the test score cutoff for Jones’ selective enrollment program, taking more kids from the hundreds who miss the cut every year.

Integrating neighborhood students into a thriving selective enrollment school is a new process for CPS, and Fioretti’s education liaison Leslie Recht said at Tuesday’s meeting that if it works, it could be put in place at more schools.

The new Jones building is set to open in fall 2013. A freshman class of neighborhood students in the program will join the roughly 900 selective enrollment students on that first day. A new grade level of the Career and Technical Education program will be added each year afterwards.

Yet to be determined is what will happen to the old Jones building when the school moves next door. A group of neighborhood parents and activists have been pushing to keep it open, rehab it and make it a new school filled entirely with neighborhood students. The school district and city’s original proposal called to turn the site into a park with athletic facilities, and to straighten out the intersection of Harrison and State.

CPS hasn’t officially announced what it’ll do with the building, but Fioretti has said he won’t approve TIF money to tear it down.

CONTACT: bmeyerson@chicagojournal.com

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By ShealeVex
Posted: 12/12/2012 9:08 AM

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By Chicagoan from Chicago
Posted: 10/28/2012 1:46 PM

This is so unfair. There are tons of kids that work to get into Jones with merit yet these parents thing they\'re special? They aren\'t. Nobody should get in just because it\'s nearby. Stop complaining and do what every other Chicagoan does. Jesus.



By Concerned MOM from Jones?? What about our needs???
Posted: 10/22/2012 11:20 AM

In the City of Chicago 2013 budget there is $5 million dollars earmarked as surplus from the "Bronzeville TIF" that the taxpayers from roughly 26th to 40th, King Drive to State Street has payed into and we are lacking high quality school optiions. In the past CPS has already taked 38,000,000 from this same TIF to fund NTA. Where are the options for Douglas families in the Jones & NTA school boundary scenario???



By Grandma from Let's Be Fair about Jones.
Posted: 10/22/2012 10:53 AM

At the October 22nd CPS Board meeting: CPS is requesting TIF money from "Modern Schools Across Chicago." This program takes TIF money from various TIF's across Chicago to funa school somewhere else. CPS wants $5,000,000 more for Jones. Look at page 37 of this link: http://cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/BoardAgenda/Documents/October%2024%202012%20Agenda%20to%20Print_2.pdf



By Grandma from Let's be fair about Jones
Posted: 10/21/2012 10:38 PM

The Calumet/Cermak TIF area is an industrial area. Your claim to residential seats was the fact that your TIF area for families around Jones funded the TIF, therefore you should have preference for residential seats. Well, if your TIF did not fund the school then why is your residential boundaries a preference at all. The seats for the CTE should be citywide. All communities should have the same claim to the CTE seats as you do!! The residential boundaries do not have to be drawn at all.



By Straight Facts from South Loop
Posted: 10/21/2012 7:57 PM

Let me be more clear. People who live in/near the Calumet/Cermak TIF are included as "neighborhood" students for Jones. The proposed neighborhood boundaries for Jones will be 26th St (South), Grand Ave (North), Ashland Avenue (West), and the lake to the east. So complaining that using this TIF money won't help neighborhood residents (who contribute to these TIFs) is bogus.



By Grandma from Let's be fair about Jones
Posted: 10/21/2012 3:58 PM

This link shows the Near South TIF boundaries where Jones College Prep is located http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/near_south_tif_.html



By Grandma from Let's Be Fair about Jones
Posted: 10/21/2012 3:43 PM

To; Straight facts The TIF boundaries for the Calumet/Cermak TIF does not include the community aroung Jones. Maybe you should look yourself. Jones address is in the adress of the Near South TIF area, not the Calumet/Cermak TIF area. This link will shoow the bounadries of the Calumet/Cermak TIF area. http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/narratives/T_059_CalumetCermakFA.pdf



By Straight facts from South loop
Posted: 10/21/2012 3:25 PM

Grandma, et. Al., If you saw the proposed neighborhood boundaries for Jones you would know that it includes this TIF. Please do research before complaining.



By claudeah from united center
Posted: 10/20/2012 7:55 PM

@Grandma, they did it to the folks in the TIF that funded Skinner. CPS does what it wants, no matter if the TIF that funds it can\'t send their kids there.



By claudeah from united center
Posted: 10/20/2012 7:55 PM

@Grandma, they did it to the folks in the TIF that funded Skinner. CPS does what it wants, no matter if the TIF that funds it can't send their kids there.



By How did this happen?? from CPS Parent
Posted: 10/19/2012 11:42 PM

I'm surprised that Jones College Prep will have neighborhood seats when Noble Street Muchin is down the street further down on State, across the street from Channel 7 news.



By Grandma from Let's be fair about Jones!
Posted: 10/19/2012 8:07 AM

In the 2013 City Budget there is $73,000,000 earmarked as surplus for the Calumet Cermak TIF. In the link below: http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/12-23-2009/What_gets_funded_when Near the end of the article Fioretti mentione the new grennline station at 18th and also Jones College Prep. If it is true that this TIF funded Jones, then why should it have neighborhood boundaries? The CTE program should not give preference to South Loop families but be citywide option for all families.



By Previous Jones Alumni from Jones will have attendance area boundaries for com
Posted: 10/18/2012 9:45 AM

Jones will have neighborhood seats?? Will other selective enrollment be doing this as well.??



By Grandma from Cont'd
Posted: 10/17/2012 9:14 AM

The Title above should say: By Grandma from What TIF Funded Jones According to an 4/21/2010 Chicago Catalyst Article. I also previously read that this school was funded by multiple TIF's. What are the names of the other?? The folks who live in the other areas where money was ported should also be included in the boundaries. Right???



By Grandma from What TIF Funded Jones According to an 4/21/2010 Ch
Posted: 10/17/2012 9:08 AM

"Although the money is being drawn from the city’s TIF reserves, it isn’t coming directly from the TIF in the school’s area.\" "Moving TIF dollars from one district to another — known as “porting” — is nothing new, especially for Jones. The school is slated to receive $40 million for its new facility from the Calumet/Cermak TIF district in 2011.\" Link: http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/04-21-2010/Land_swap_means_funds_for_Jones_Prep So where should the community boundaries really be?



By Having attended the Jones meeting from South Loop
Posted: 10/17/2012 7:08 AM

Using taxpayer dollars, CPS is running the academic equivalent of a ponzi scheme.



By JP from Sloop
Posted: 09/13/2012 4:17 PM

These comments don't make much sense. Jones will have the same and perhaps more selective enrollment seats in the new building compared to the old. And with the neighborhood preference boundary, students in Tier IV who didn't make the cut off may now get in under the CTE program. No one is being rewarding in this program for doing less.



By Understanding from Rogers Park
Posted: 09/13/2012 4:16 PM

While I completely understand your point, this system is applied throughout the city. Parents from the South Loop are not the only ones paying the price for this system. Although this system needs to go, I would tear down the old Jones and create athletic/open space. This school located in the middle of the city making it accessible to more families. My point is that you are not the only ones needing to move! Make Jones better! Better resources = better children.



By Agree with AngryParent from South Loop
Posted: 09/13/2012 1:43 PM

The less you do in life, the more you get rewarded in the City of Chicago. You are better off not working and doing nothing with your life than the people who work their butts off. If you don\'t work, you get free food and money. The workers will pay for your kids and pay for you to sit on the couch. I\'m tired of it. And the same thing is happening with the school. We pay top dollar to live here, yet our kids will be kicked to the curb for the underachievers. NEED TO MOVE!



By Agree with AngryParent from South Loop
Posted: 09/13/2012 1:43 PM

The less you do in life, the more you get rewarded in the City of Chicago. You are better off not working and doing nothing with your life than the people who work their butts off. If you don't work, you get free food and money. The workers will pay for your kids and pay for you to sit on the couch. I'm tired of it. And the same thing is happening with the school. We pay top dollar to live here, yet our kids will be kicked to the curb for the underachievers. NEED TO MOVE!



By Angryparent from South Loop
Posted: 09/13/2012 1:19 PM

Once again, the under achievers are rewarded because of where they live. Hundreds of deserving kids were not allowed entry into selective enrollment schools because the CPS had to admit Tier I (underachieving minorities) into selective enrollment schools. Now, the very good kids will have their education watered down because we have to accept the neighborhood kids who did not have the ability to get in. More benefits to the welfare group, less to the kids who will actually pay taxes one day.