One down, thirteen to go... Is Mollison off the 2010 Hit List? KOCO says CPS 'Chief Administrative Officer' Robert Runcie has told them Mollison's testimony won the argument

According to an e-mail sent to members of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) and some members of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), Mollison Elementary School will not be proposed for consolidation when the Chicago Board of Education meets on February 24, 2010.

Nearly an hour before the Mollison hearings was scheduled to begin on the evening of February 8, 2010, people began lining up to testify on behalf of Mollison and against the plan by CEO Ron Huberman to close the school and give the building over to "Wells Prep." As at 13 of the 14 hearings held in Chicago between January 28 and February 10, 2010, more than 90 percent of the people who showed up to defend their school were African-Americans. Not one of the hearings was reported in Chicago's corporate media. The Chicago Tribune failed to send a reporter to any of the 18 hearings. The Chicago Sun-Times had a reporter present for two of the 18 hearings, but did not publish a story. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The case against the closing of Mollison was presented forcefully by Mollison staff, parents, students, and community supporters at the hearing on February 8, 2010. The full Substance report on that hearing has been available at Substance News since the morning after the hearing as part of Substance's comprehensive coverage of this year's school closings (etc.) Hit List controversies. Readers can find that report at:§ion=Article

By the time the hearing began, there were more than 200 people crammed into the Board chambers on the fifth floor of the CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. and an additional 75 people in what is called the "holding room" on the 15th floor. More than 40 of the people at the hearing were children, some as young as two and three years old.

The defense of Mollison came after an equally impressive defense of Deneen Elementary School had been presented earlier in the day.

The Deneen hearing was scheduled for February 8 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The Mollison hearing took place between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., with hundreds remaining, despite the late hour, until the hearing officer announced that no more testimony would be heard. The decision to terminate testimony after less than two hours (CPS officials were given between 45 minutes and one hour to present their case at the beginning of each two-hour hearing) was typical of the way CPS officials handled the community in each of the hearings on the 14 schools on this year's list.

Although the Board of Education will not be voting on the proposals from Ron Huberman until its meeting of February 24, thousands of people from the targeted schools have been working to make their cases on behalf of their schools. While many schools presented their defenses forcefully in past years, there has been nothing like the outpouring of opposition to the closings like has taken place in 2010.

Before the powerful testimony on behalf of Mollison began on February 8, Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) spoke against the closing of Millison (above). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.In addition to the previous Substance report on the Mollison hearing, Substance reporter John Kugler compiled some of the Mollison testimony and put it on You Tube.

One of the most important testimonies of the evening came not from Mollison, but from a parent associated with Wells Prep. Wells Prep, a special school located currently inside Wendell Phillips High School, was supposed to become the "school" inside the Mollison building after the change. The bizarre plan, endorsed by Ron Huberman, consisted of closing Mollison, moving Wells Prep into the Mollison building, then reopening the "school" as "Wells Prep." Most of those familiar with the area agreed that the entire plan was to get all the extra facilities out of the Phillips High School building so that it could be taken over by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which will be the "turnaround" contractor at Phillips High School if the Board approves the Phillips "turnaround" plan at its February 24 meeting.

Why is everyone jumping on wells prep

KOCO Rep Testifies against REN2010

Behind the proposal by Ron Huberman to close Mollison, in the opinion of most observers, was what one witness called the "master plan" to turn Phillips High School over to AUSL. In order to do that, CPS was willing to spend more than a million dollars relocating two facilities that had been operating inside the Phillips High School building. By the time of the hearings on February 8, CPS had already moved the Board of Education's Department of School Security and Safety from the Phillips High School building into 125 S. Clark St., following extensive renovations on the 15th floor at Clark St. The other "outside entity" at Phillips was "Wells Prep," a small school which had been operating autonomously inside the Phillips building. Grand Boulevard Federation spokeperson Andrea Lee challenged the entire Mollison plan during her testimony, noting that a lot of energy was being expended to clean out the historic Phillips High School building for AUSL.

Grand Blvd Fed Questions CPS Motives

Pastor Campbell REN2010 is Dangerous =

Late on February 13, 2010, Jitu Brown of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization KOCO sent a message around. It reads:


I just received a call from Bob Runcie, Chief Administrative Officer at Chicago Public Schools. He informed me that due to consistent and persuasive testimony (pressure) from the school community at Mollison, they are off the list for being consolidated!!

There has not been an official announcement as of yet and he informed me that they plan to make one this week. We will stay in touch with CPS and push for this to happen.

Mollison Elementary School Principal Wilhemina Kenan (above at microphone) spoke forcefully against the closing of the school during the hearing on February 8. Following Ms. Kenan, dozens of speakers outlined the ways in which Mollison had been sabotaged by CPS policies during the Duncan years and the first year of the Huberman administration. Half those who signed up to speak at the Mollison hearing were not called on because time ran out. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On behalf of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), I would like to applaud the courage and organization of Mollison's LSC members, parents, Ms. Kenan (principal), teachers and students!

To every member of the Mollison community who called Ron Huberman's office, made phone calls, did research, provided testimony and attended the community forums; great job!! It was an honor for KOCO to work with you on strategy and turnout and we look forward to continuing our work together. Now we have to work to get Mollison the support it deserves!

Mr. Runcie also stated that he wants to work with us on developing an effective process for school improvement, how CPS can work with the community to improve schools, which we have been pressuring CPS on since 2004.

Jitu Brown, Education Organizer, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, 1005 E. 43rd. Chicago, Illinois 60653, (773) 548-7500 wk, (773) 548-9264 fax, (773) 317-6343 cell

Final version of this article posted at at 3:00 a.m. on February 15, 2010. EDITOR'S NOTE ON REPUBLICATION USE. This is copyrighted content, news and analysis prepared and published by the staff and supporters of Substance (the print monthly) and Substance News Service ( Both are publications of Substance, Inc. Chicago, Illinois. The final edited version of this article and the accompanying graphics were posted at www.substance February 15, 2010, 3:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2010 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms. Alternatively, please make a donation or take out a subscription to the print edition of Substance (see red button to the right). We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502. Collegial groups and teachers using this material for class use should simply inform us of the extent of your usage. Anyone utilizing this material for commercial purposes is in violation of U.S. and other international copyright laws. Copyright 2010 Substance, Inc. all rights reserved.


February 14, 2010 at 4:19 AM

By: kugler


lets getting rest of the schools off the hit list by putting on the pressure on our elected officials.

contact your alderman and contact all your friends to contact their alderman to sponsor and support to support the resolution to freeze closings, turnovers, phase outs, and turnarounds in Chicago just as 'Chicago Model' goes national under 'Race To The Top' The resolution, which was dated February 10, 2010, was introduced by Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) and Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward).


Here's a link to everyone's alderperson's email address.


or you can use this site using your address

Find Your Alderman


Here is a sample letter for those who want to use it. Simply copy and paste this letter and send it on to your alderperson, or, write your own note. This should be done sooner rather than later, as we need to put political pressure on PRIOR to February 24th. Again, copy and paste the following note or send your own:[jay rehak created]


Dear Alderman,

I am writing to ask you to support Alderman Dowell(3rd) and Alderman Lyle's (6th) Resolution urging the City Council to freeze all school closings, phase outs, consolidations, and turnarounds of the processes for at least one year.

As has been noted in the media, thousands of Chicago residents have turned out to oppose these processes, each of which is disruptive to the learning environment and ultimately harmful to the children of Chicago.

In the interest of a more studied view of the implications of school closings to Chicago neighborhoods and its residents, I urge you to support Alderman Dowell and Alderman Lyle's Resolution. I also urge the City Council to begin hearings on the long term implications of closing public schools or transferring them to private entities.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this vital City matter.


February 14, 2010 at 9:07 AM

By: Caveat Emptor

Sez Who about Mollison?

Has Substance been able to check with Ron Huberman or Robert Runcie about this good news? Isn't one of the Substance motto's "Check it out!" Isn't this the same administration that announced on January 18 (via a leak to the Sun-Times) that Ruggles was on the Hit List only to announce (on January 19, according to your report on the Huberman press conference) that it wasn't Ruggles — but Bradwell -- on the Hit List?

I know it's a long weekend and CPS offices are closed, but your reporters should have some way of checking stories as important as this one before you publish something like this.

If Ron Huberman can tell the Sun-Times Ruggles is going to be put to turnaround and then reverse himself after Ruggles finds itself turned inside out reading the news in the Sun-Times, why do you think this is accurate?

February 15, 2010 at 11:27 PM

By: Jim Vail

More to be Removed from CLosing List

Apparently the media of choice for the Board of Ed is NPR - the only other corporate mainstream media that has covered the opposition to the school closings and some hearings.

'A top official in Chicago Public Schools says the district is poised to pull a “handful” of schools off its controversial closings list.

'Public testimony from thousands of parents and teachers has school officials reconsidering their original plans to close, consolidate or re-staff 14 schools.

'Bob Runcie is the district’s chief administrative officer.

'RUNCIE: We’ve considered community input and other information that we’ve gathered through the public hearing process, and we are strongly considering modifying the proposals that we submitted. And this is why we’ve had public hearings.

'Runcie says that some action will be taken at all the schools, but it may not be as dramatic as what CPS originally proposed. He says principals could be changed or staff replaced instead of shutting a building down.

'Runcie says public concerns about getting kids safely to and from new schools is causing the district pause in some cases.

'Board members attended most public hearings this year. They've been criticized in the past for voting to kill schools without attending hearings.

February 18, 2010 at 4:20 PM

By: jessica rance


thank you Ron Huberman !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM

By: Rosetta Cowart


The parents of Irvin C. Mollison would like to thank Ron Huberman and the Chicago School Board for not consolidating our school.

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