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Brentano's principal says that neighborhood families have a "love affair" with the school. The faculty hopes that a documentary about the school's history will persuade CPS to keep the school open.

Chicago elementary school has rich history, uncertain future

by Bryan Lowry
Feb 19, 2013

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Bryan Lowry/MEDILL

Brentano students head home at the end of Friday's school day. Many students have attended Brentano since pre-school, but whether they will get to continue their education there next year is uncertain.

Realizing that this could be the last year Brentano Math and Science Academy in Logan Square remains open, the faculty is creating a video documentary about the school’s history using old photographs and other materials alumni have sent in over the years.

Faculty members hope by showing Brentano’s past – the school opened in 1893 – they can persuade CPS to give it a future.

CPS is closing schools to deal with a $1 billion budget shortfall for next year. A decision to keep all high schools open has meant that the majority of the schools in danger of closure are elementary schools, like Brentano.

Brentano is one of 129 schools included on a list of possible closures released by CPS last week. Many members the Logan Square community have rallied around Brentano. A petition to save the school got 1,000 signatures and hundreds of parents showed up to a public forum to advocate for the school three days before CPS released its list.

The school is considered underutilized with 426 students attending a facility the district says has a capacity of 960 students.

CPS will announce the final list of school closings on March 31.