Forum on principal finalists at Taft set


The Taft High School Principal Selection Committee announced Tuesday that it has narrowed the field of candidates for principal to three finalists, who will meet with residents at a forum that will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 9, in the auditorium of the school, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

The candidates will be asked about their qualifications and vision for the school. The committee will meet later in a closed session to discuss the candidates and decide on a final recommendation to the Taft Local School Council.

The school’s vacant principal position was created in April when Mary Kay Cappitelli decided to retire due to medical issues.

Meanwhile, it was announced at the May 20 meeting of the Taft High School Local School Council that the school will delay hiring another assistant principal until it is clear that the funds for the position are not needed for more teachers.

The school expects 600 to 700 freshmen to enroll for the fall semester, but as many as 900 could enroll, creating uncertainty over the number of teachers that will be needed. "Traditionally about 200 to 300 choose to go to private school," acting principal Carolyn Rownd said at the meeting.

The council approved Taft’s 2014-15 budget, which includes about $17 million that the Chicago Public Schools allocates based on the school’s enrollment. Taft receives additional sources of funding that cover the principal’s salary and the cost of special education teachers, U.S. Naval ROTC Junior program instructors and other positions.

The school’s projected enrollment for next fall is about 3,200, including 270 students in the Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Center, and the school’s allotment of funds could change based on the enrollment on the 20th day of classes. "We’re full, but we’re not bursting at the seam," Rownd said. "About 500 (freshmen) have registered so far."

The school has had three assistant principals for several years, but "we’re being held back by the paperwork," Rownd said. A fourth assistant principal would allow administrators to spend more time on academic improvements, including assisting the faculty with the transition to a full International Baccalaureate Program school, she said.