Plan commission to hear update on new campus
by BRIAN NADIG
The Chicago Plan Commission at its Nov. 15 meeting will hear an update on the planned Taft High School freshman campus, which is under construction at 4071 N. Oak Park Ave.
The meeting will be held at 11 a.m. in Room 1103 on the 11th Floor of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
The agenda calls for "a courtesy presentation" on the anticipated programming and enrollment boundaries for the new school building. The commission previously approved the zoning for the project.
The Chicago Board of Education last month created a proximity boundary that gives eighth-grade students living in the attendance areas of Bridge, Dever and Canty schools a preference for enrolling at Taft. The proximity boundary also includes the southern portion of the attendance area for Smyser School.
Under the current plan, students from those elementary school areas will be enrolled at Taft only if there is sufficient space after those living within Taft’s traditional boundaries are admitted.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said last week that after talks with the mayor’s office and the school system, he feels "confident that the current language (for the proximity boundary) will be amended shortly," so that Dunning area families can be assured of enrolling at Taft, which is the most overcrowded school in Chicago.
Sposato has said that he wants Dunning families to have a guaranteed option of attending Taft since the new building is located in their neighborhood.
Last year Taft operated at 141 percent of its ideal capacity, and the rate is expected to be higher this school year due to a recent enrollment increase. Beginning next September, all Taft freshmen and Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Center students will be housed in the 1,200-seat building on Oak Park, while sophomores, juniors and seniors will have classes at the main campus at 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Currently the home high school for Bridge, Dever and Canty is Steinmetz Prep High School, while the southern portion of Smyser’s attendance area feeds into Schurz High School.