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Neighbors oppose military academy

EmmSegurleft parent mentor Ames Middle school listens LeticiBarrerEducator Organizer Logan Square neighbor associatiduring an open meeting where parents supporters Ames

Emma Segura, left, parent mentor at Ames Middle school listens to Leticia Barrera, Educator Organizer Logan Square neighbor association during an open meeting where parents and supporters of Ames Middle School are fighting to keep the school from turning into a military academy, January 15, 2013. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:29AM

The alderman champions a military academy in Logan Square, citing terrible options for his young residents. The neighborhood disagrees, defending Ames Middle School as a community hub that ought not be replaced.

And as CPS gears up to close some of its schools, basing decisions on how empty or full a school building is, Ames’ fans met Tuesday morning at City Hall to fight another step in a battle they fear may already be a done deal.

“I really do not want a military school in our building,” said Alivette Alicea, who has two of her five children at Ames and serves on its Local School Council. “I’ll be there for a couple more years, and I’m going to fight to do whatever it takes to keep Ames as Ames.”

Ames, which houses about 500 seventh- and eighth-graders, just hired a new principal. Most importantly, Ames is a “community hub,” with art and English and computer classes available to parents as well as children, said Maria Trejo of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

A Logan Square Neighborhood Association survey found that a vast majority of residents did not want a military school and preferred to keep a neighborhood school.

But Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) favors moving the Marine Math and Science Academy high school into the building occupied by Ames Middle School and expanding its grades to include seventh and eighth. In December, the Board of Education approved adding the grades, making Marine Academy the city’s first military middle school. He agreed to meet again with the Ames fans, who say they won’t give up.

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