LICNA hosts petition drive for new school
August 3, 2018

Concerned that few children who live in the Taylor Street/Little Italy area can go to existing neighborhood schools because of a limited number of desks for them, the Little Italy Chicago Neighborhood Association (LICNA) is waging a petition drive to change the situation.

LICNA will send signed petitions to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters, where members would seek to meet with CPS CEO Janice Jackson, said Natalie Laino, chairwoman of LICNA’s education committee, at the group’s July 18 meeting.

The group wants a “quality magnet cluster CPS elementary school” that can take in all the neighborhood’s children, according to the petition. This type of school will help build stability in the community, rather than drive families away, Laino said. The school could operate in one of the community’s existing buildings or in a new structure, she suggested.

Laino and other LICNA leaders expressed concern that the community loses families with young children because the highly rated Galileo, Andrew Jackson, and STEM magnet schools draw so many children from all over the city, so only small percentages of the community’s youngsters can enroll.

She has talked with parents of pre-schoolers who plan to move to the suburbs in order for their offspring to attend neighborhood public schools instead of private or parochial schools. This family flight does not make for a stable community, she said.

To sign the petition or obtain a copy to circulate, contact LICNA at For more information, email

—Susan S. Stevens