Community Efforts Secure New Roof For Kilmer Elementary School

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Kilmer Elementary School in Rogers Park has had water damage within the school’s walls and roof for years.

Now, thanks to efforts from parents and school officials, plans have been unveiled to replace the roof and fix the outside facade of the school over the next two years for $5-10 million.

“This good news is due in no small measure to the dogged determination of Kilmer Principal Jean Papagianis, who is a fierce advocate for her school, and Kilmer’s local school council, who kept the need for a new roof front and center,” Ald. Joe Moore (49th) wrote in a statement on his website.

Betsy Elich Vandercook and Stefanie Elliot Cirillo have been fighting for Kilmer School for years, and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

“Stuff is literally falling out of the walls,” Vandercook said in an interview last week.

Vandercook and Cirillo are two of four Kilmer school board members who spoke on behalf of the school at a Chicago Board of Education meeting. They also argued for the Board to help plug funds that had been taken from Kilmer in earlier budgets.

“We were really hopeful in this huge budget there would be something for our schools here and there was nothing, there was nothing in the budget,” said Cirillo.

Community members put together a petition on Facebook, hoping to show the Board of Education how much the neighborhood cares about its local school.

“We really give credit to this petition,” Cirillo said. “Someone was looking through Facebook and saw this… we’re not going to take this petition down.”

The petition garnered well over 1,200 online ‘signatures,’ to go with more than 150 physical signatures, Cirillo said.

 

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