By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HP-K CC) Schools Committee is searching for parents, principals, elected officials, faith-based leaders and more community members to help it form a Hyde Park Community Action Council (CAC).
A majority of those in attendance at the conference’s Schools Committee meeting last Wednesday at Kenwood Academy High School 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., raised their hands in favor of forming a Hyde Park CAC. CACs were created by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to get a better understanding of the educational needs in each community. As a CAC, the community would develop strategic plans for the schools in Hyde Park. The committee wants to become a formal CAC as soon as possible so that the CPS board can review some of its requests this year such as keeping Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., open.
“It’s hard to know what’s going on in the school system and we don’t know who to believe,” said James Ellis, who has a son in 1st grade at Ray Elementary School. “Parents are fretting and considering alternatives to public school. I believe a CAC could be a conduit of information.”
Malba Favors Allen, who has a sophomore at Kenwood, said Hyde Park-Kenwood has the resources and influences to produce high quality public schools.
“I would not like to travel all the way to the North Side to take my child to school,” Allen said.
Between 20 and 35 core members are needed to form a CAC. About 14 people agreed to sign up for membership and speak to their schools, churches and elected officials about signing up. Anyone in the community can be a part of the CAC and its committees, but the core members, who would have to undergo background checks, would be the only ones with voting privileges.
The CPS board asked all established CACs — there are currently eight across the city — to submit a list of three suggestions of improvements that can be made to the schools in their community by the end of February. Once the Hyde Park CAC is established the community will work together to present a list of its three most pressing concerns.
The next HP-K CC Schools Committee meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Kenwood in the Little Theater. To join the CAC, contact Nancy Baum at firstname.lastname@example.org.