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Developing: Lincoln-Way North to Close

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It's definitely a sad day.  Does any one else remember before the recession that there were plans to have 6 schools by 2020?  The board has also left open the possibility that one more school will close in the next year or two.

http://abc7chicago.com/news/lincoln-way-board-votes-to-close-north-high-school/928178/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

 

 

The Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 school board voted Thursday night to close Lincoln-Way North High School -- one of the district's four high schools.

The decision affects thousands of families in the south suburban communities of New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena and Manhattan.

Lincoln-Way North was built in 2007 and was at 77 percent capacity.

Closing one school will save the cash-strapped district just over $4 million per year, school officials said.

In a 2005 referendum, residents of District 210 in New Lenox, Frankfort, Mokena and Tinley Park approved spending more than $200 million to construct two new high schools to serve 10,000 students. But then the recession hit.

"Hindsight being 20-20, we would have never built four high schools," said Scott Tingley, District 210 administrator.

Now, through a combination of poor budgeting -- according to parents -- and an admitted lack of transparency -- according to administrators -- the district finds its annual million dollars surpluses masked a structural deficit of over $33 million and climbing. Even with closing one school, it will be years before the district pays off the deficit.

The district's other schools are Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way East.

All of the schools had far fewer students than it can handle.

Lincoln-Way West, built in 2008, is at 57 percent capacity. Lincoln-Way Central, built in 1953, is at 59 percent capacity. Lincoln-Way East, built in 1963, is at 64 percent capacity.

Facebook pages to save the schools have popped up.

"We are a community and we have something to bond to," said Ann Jenkins, a parents whose five kids attended Lincoln-Way North. "I hate to say this but this beautiful school is going to be boarded up and it is the heart of our community."

Earlier Thursday at Lincoln-Way East, the Griffins practice for their first game of what might have been their final year. There were concerns the older schools like this one may be favored in the closing debate because they're closer to district population centers.

"My hope is the board uses the finances of the district as their No. 1 criteria," said parent Bob Ripp.


 

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What makes me cringe is the people on Twitter saying "I grew up with Lincoln-Way North!"  Guh.  It opened three years after I graduated high school.  I'm old. :(

 

Yeah... you are.

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Here's the projected 2016 enrollments:

 

All North kids will attend LWE, plus students from feeders in District 157C, for a total at East of 2,867.  Lincoln-Way Central will house students from Mokena District 159 and Martino Junior High in New Lenox District 122, totaling 2,206 students. Liberty Junior High students, also from District 122, will continue to attend Lincoln-Way West, with the addition of Manhattan District 114 students, with an enrollment of 2,275.

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Wow - closing a school that was built only 8 years ago is a shocker. I always thought that the LW district had their act together, with purchasing land and planning for growth. The growth hasn't happened as fast as planned, but I assume it'll only be a matter of time before there are homes on all of that undeveloped land.

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