Letters to the Editor

I read your report (Aug. 19) about the investment plan for upgrades to my neighborhood school, Kate Starr Kellogg Elementary.

While we parents are appreciative of the funding for upgrades, we are opposed to the plan that 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea has created without our goals for the school in mind.

The school is in desperate need of a new plan for the modular unit.

I can tell you firsthand that the modular is too cold in the winter, and it is falling apart, not to mention that children have to exit it to go to lunch and some of their classes. That is a hassle and has probably caused a few sick days for some. 

Such a large sum of money could have been put toward an addition to the school, and I cannot understand why that wasn’t a top priority.

We are also in need of more space for a lunchroom, which could also be accomplished with an addition. I can’t tell you how aggravated I was when my child was not given her gym time due to the fact that it coincided with eighth-graders having lunch. 

Gym class is seriously undervalued in America, which has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes. A healthy body coincides with a healthy mind. Most of us grew up with at least an hour of gym. Are we grooming our kids to just play on iPads? I certainly hope not. 

Also, we cannot afford to lose any space in the gym. If Matt O’Shea came to our school and saw the children using the gym, he would realize that space cannot be removed from that room.

As far as being ADA compliant, the school has a ramp, so why demolish the front of the school and add another? Putting an elevator inside would be far more helpful, but that should be part of an addition.

The school also needs a boiler, and the last time I checked, that’s a necessity.

As for the playground, the problem is that of older children, including those from other schools, using and breaking equipment designed for small children. I see it time and time again. That won’t be solved by redoing the playground. 

The rubber surface could use an upgrade, but the equipment is fine, as long as teenagers don’t play on it. It would help to post signage declaring that the playground is for ages 1-12.

The plan Matt O’Shea has devised did not include me or any other parent I have spoken to. I am part of the Kellogg community. I was the vice president of the PTA; I have volunteered for the garden club; and I went down to the Chicago Board of Education when Matt O’Shea planned to shut our school down and push us all into Sutherland Elementary School.

So, when Matt O’Shea says he consulted the Kellogg community, I’d like to know what community that is because none of the parents I have talked to was consulted.

This school is more than just a building. The kids and families make up the school. This plan doesn’t consider any of the actual needs and wants of the children, the families or the community. 

Many elements of the proposed plan waste taxpayer dollars and don’t address many of the current issues of the school. That is unacceptable.

It’s been years and years since Kellogg has seen any investment, and this opportunity cannot be wasted. Kellogg families and staff should be consulted.

It’s best for everyone involved.

Nicole Maldonado