By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Dyett High School, which is in year two of its four year phase out, joined schools across the city — including Ray Elementary School — in rejecting the preliminary budget proposed by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for the 2013-2014 school year. The school is also protesting decisions being made by CPS to offer its remaining students online courses.
“It’s the responsibility of the school district to provide a quality education for the schools,” said Steven Guy, community member of the Dyett local school council (LSC). “The burden you have given us makes it impossible to provide school services this year.”
Guy said since the announcement of the phase out of Dyett, 555 E. 51st St., the school has lost 13 teachers, AP courses, an AVID program, one year of arts instruction and the students have to arrive and leave school from the back of the building because parts of the school were shut down due to decreasing matriculation numbers. Dyett’s current enrollment is 120 juniors and seniors.
“Over the years CPS has slashed our budget by $1 million and they expect us to run a school on $97,000 a year,” Guy said. “We want an independent audit of CPS’s budget to see how much money that have been stripped from our neighborhood schools to support privatization.”
CPS also told Dyett that classes such as Spanish, art, world studies and gym would only be offered online.
Diamond McCullough, who will be a senior at Dyett next school year, said CPS officials, including CPS Chief Area Office John Price, told the Dyett community that the school “would stay open with the proper resources needed during the phase out.”
She said, “I should have access to AP classes and a world class education in my own neighborhood.”
Parrish Brown, who will be a senior next year, said “Never have I heard of such nonsense. How can you have gym on a tablet?”
Guy said “… it makes no sense that the school just received a state of the art gym and swimming pool, which it won by applying to a contest sponsored by ESPN, and they can’t use it.”
He said, “that’s what happens when a system is not accountable to anyone.”
CPS has not told the LSC how the online courses will be administered but some of the students said they’ve had previous experiences with taking non-major classes online and said they were not satisfied with the instruction.
“I took a college and career readiness class online and I just read through a bunch of documents and took test after test,” said McCullough, who said she dropped the class.
Brown said he was interested in taking a music class next school year but now that it will only be offered online he has decided not to take it.