CHICAGO (CBS) — A long-time partnership is going away. After nearly 70 years of hosting the Chicago Public Schools science fair, the Museum of Science and Industry announced Wednesday that it can no longer house the event.
Over the years, thousands of students proudly displayed their projects at the science fair.READ MORE: Lollapalooza Enters Day 2; Organizers Say 90% Of Fans Showed Proof Of Vaccination Thursday
“I just felt like this kid from the hood who threw together a project together on plants,” said Juanita Irizarry, who presented her project at the fair in the 1980’s.
Now, Irizarry runs Friends of the Parks, a non-profit organizations that preserves and protects the use of parks and open space in Chicago. She credits the science fair for helping her grow intellectually.
“I ended up actually scoring highest on science on my ACT test.”
Despite the fair’s past successes such as this, the museum says it will no longer host the event after 2018.
“The decision to do this was not made easily and was not made quickly,” said Andrea Ingram, vice president of education and guest services at the museum.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Cool Down
According to museum administrators, over the years, financially-challenged CPS cut back its budget for the non-profit that sponsors the fair, including a nearly full-time position to coordinate the event.
“It kind of naturally and slowly ended up falling upon the staff of the museum, and we weren’t really positioned in a way that could allow us to effectively support that,” Ingram said.
The museum helps train over 1,100 science teachers every year, and sponsors student science programs with 180 community-based organizations. Still, administrators understand critics of the change may not realize this.
To that, Ingram said, “The tens of thousands, literally, of children and teachers who participate with us every year know differently.”
CPS pledges to work with the non-profit to find a new location, saying in a statement,”We’re confident there is ample time to execute this longstanding tradition.”
The museum will still host the event this Spring, but the hunt is already on for a location in 2019.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Breezy, Clear Night; Dangerous Beach Conditions
About 300 kids take part in the science fair every year.