The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

State Rep. Andrade on Charters: 'We Need to Promote the Schools We Have'

By Patty Wetli | September 19, 2013 3:02pm | Updated on September 19, 2013 3:11pm
 State Rep. Jaime Andrade (40th) met with The Residents of Irving Park.
State Rep. Jaime Andrade (40th) met with The Residents of Irving Park.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

IRVING PARK — Barely a month into his job as the newly-appointed state representative, Jaime Andrade has scarcely had time to develop a policy agenda. But that didn't stop Irving Park residents from pressing the legislator on education issues, specifically charter schools.

The combined Irving Park-Albany Park area is one of nine targeted by Chicago Public Schools for charter expansion.

"I think we need to promote the schools we have," Andrade, a Democrat representing the 40th House District, said at Wednesday night's meeting of The Residents of Irving Park.

Shoring up neighborhood schools, which have been hit hard by teacher layoffs and budget cuts, should be a top priority, he said.

"Roosevelt needs every penny they can get," Andrade said of the neighborhood high school, which lost more than $1 million when CPS enacted a new funding formula.

"Roosevelt is a base for our neighborhood. If that's not improved, our neighborhood is not improved," he said.

Community leaders also need to do a better job of touting the high quality of neighborhood schools, said Andrade, naming Bateman, Cleveland and Henry elementaries, all ranked Level 1 "excellent" on CPS' performance rating scale.

Since taking office, Andrade, who spent 20 years on the staff of former Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), said he has been going door to door to meet his new constituents. What he's heard: "People are not happy with the school closures," he said.

That raised the subject of an elected CPS school board, which would require legislation at the state level to become a reality.

"I haven't quite made a decision on that, yet," said Andrade, while adding that "more accountability" from is needed.

"At this moment, I don't have an argument against it."