New charter schools to get vetted by public again

Print More

After proposed charter schools were pulled from the docket in last
month’s board meeting, representatives from all but one of them will be
present at a set of public meetings to continue the push to open and
expand.  After proposed charter schools were pulled from the docket in last month’s board meeting, representatives from all but one of them will be present at a set of public meetings to continue the push to open and expand. 

Community forums will be held at 9 a.m. this Saturday at Doolittle Parent Resource Center, 521 E. 35th St., and at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday at the CPS Board Chambers, 125 S. Clark St.  On Tuesday, after the forum, there will be a hearing on the charter school proposals, also at CPS headquarters. Participants wanting to speak should arrive to sign up at 5 p.m.

The only new charter school that won’t be represented is one proposed by Christopher House, a social service agency that wants to serve children from birth through high school. Christopher House officials did not return calls.

These public forums were designed to be “accessible, fairly central locations because the proposals are not just for specific communities but across the city,” said Whitney Spalding, manager of recruitment and selection in the Office of New Schools.

One of the complaints leveled at December’s board meeting is that the initial hearings on these charter schools were difficult to get to or not well publicized.

The meetings will focus on these new schools: Legal Prep Academy in West Town, which is a high school that will provide students an introduction to the law; the  Montessori School of Englewood; three campuses run by the United Neighborhood Organization or UNO; and ChicagoQuest North, a Chicago International Charter School on the Near North Side.  Representatives from UNO, Noble Street and Youth Connections, which are looking to expand their current campuses throughout the city, will also attend.

The charters in question were initially slated for a school board vote in December, but they were pulled from the docket after a flood of public concern about opening and expanding schools.  Community members said they weren’t given enough time to discuss the charters, adding that the locations of public meetings made it difficult to attend them.  Teachers also shared their concern that adding the charters would pull high-achieving students from neighborhood schools.

Spalding said the next board agenda isn’t ready yet, but at least some of the charters will be back up for a vote at the upcoming meeting on Jan. 26.