The Cause And Effect Of Chicago School Closures

John Hope High School at 5515 S. Lowe Ave. in Chicago is one of four Englewood area high schools slated to close over the next three years.
John Hope High School at 5515 S. Lowe Ave. in Chicago is one of four Englewood area high schools slated to close over the next three years. Andrew Gill / WBEZ
John Hope High School at 5515 S. Lowe Ave. in Chicago is one of four Englewood area high schools slated to close over the next three years.
John Hope High School at 5515 S. Lowe Ave. in Chicago is one of four Englewood area high schools slated to close over the next three years. Andrew Gill / WBEZ

The Cause And Effect Of Chicago School Closures

Hope College Preparatory School on Chicago’s South Side was once a shining gem in the neighborhood. Ten years ago, it touted a robust curriculum, a basketball team and debate team that both earned championship titles, and served more than a thousand students. 

Today, that number is down to just 90 kids — across four grades. Hope is one of four Chicago Public Schools on the South Side that are set to close, victims to critically low enrollment, low funding, and an oversaturation of high schools in the area. The schools were set to close this June — before a replacement opened — but last week CPS CEO Janice Jackson announced that three of the four would instead be phased out and closed in 2021 instead. 

So what’s behind the inevitable school closures and how are students being affected? How does a once-thriving school go from 1,000 students to less than 100 in just a decade? Morning Shift talks to WBEZ education reporter Sarah Karp for more.