To the Editor:
I would like to thank the Coalition for Equitable Community Development and the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference for hosting the recent aldermanic forums. These forums provide a vital service in ensuring that Hyde Parkers are engaged and informed.
However, I do feel I must correct two misperceptions that have repeatedly arisen. Ald. Will Burns (4th) persists in taking credit for keeping Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., open. This is disrespectful to the hundreds of parents and students who have worked tremendously hard to forge a rich alternative to shuttering the only open enrollment high school in the area.
If Burns was so involved, why were hundreds of his constituents camped out on his doorstep in protest? And, if a word to the mayor is what kept Dyett open, why did he fail to fight for Fuller, Price, and Canter and why did he wait so long?
The second thing that must be clarified is the use of the Canter building for the Kenwood Academic Center. While I am pleased that the Academic Center will be able to expand and accept more students, the process completely excluded the community. Burns claims that he met with “grassroots community organizations,” yet many of his constituents who are very active in our schools are supporting my candidacy because they have repeatedly felt excluded from any process.
Burns did not follow the CPS mandate that called for hearings about closed buildings. It was only after the decision was made that he placed his decision on the agenda at his regular ward meeting.
This comes as no surprise when in a recent interview he stated that he prefers to negotiate behind closed doors. This lack of process is why Hyde Parkers are calling for more independence, as has long been a tradition in the 4th Ward.
Norman H. Bolden
Candidate for 4th Ward Alderman