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CPS Delays Posting of Charter School Proposals

By Casey Cora | December 5, 2013 1:56pm
 The school district's online posting of prospective school proposals has been pushed back.
The school district's online posting of prospective school proposals has been pushed back.
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Chicago Public Schools

CHICAGO — Those hoping to get a more detailed look at the proposals for new charter schools in the city will have to wait a bit longer.

CPS officials had said the complete proposals — which outline a prospective charter school’s enrollment estimates, grade levels served, management companies and more — would be posted on the district’s Office of New Schools website on Thursday.

But a CPS spokeswoman said the rollout has been delayed and “there’s no indication of when” the proposals will be posted. The CPS board of education is scheduled to vote on the proposals next month.

That’s left some volunteers with the district’s newly created Neighborhood Advisory Councils puzzled and angry.

“I’ve put hours and hours and hours of my life into doing this duty and the least they could do is follow their own damn calendar. It’s disrespectful to everyone involved — the councils, the [charter] design teams and to all community members,” said Jennie Biggs, a member of the five-person McKinley Park Neighborhood Advisory Council.

Comprised of parents, community groups, politicians and business leaders in the Northwest and Southwest Side neighborhoods eyed by CPS for charter expansion, the councils were created to review and discuss the proposals before hosting community-wide discussions, many of which are slated to begin next week.

While the groups have had copies of the charter proposals to review, the charter documents largely haven’t been shared with the public.

In the McKinley Park area, the advisory council has been mulling over a proposal from Be the Change Charter School, an independent teacher-led prospective school looking to open in Bridgeport, McKinley Park, Armour Square or Pilsen.

A representative from the group could not immediately be reached for comment.

“In order to have a really effective community meeting, people should be given time to review the proposals,” said Biggs, who’s also part of the education advocacy group Raise Your Hand.

According to a CPS timeline, the councils will give their recommendations to the district Dec. 16 and the board will vote to authorize or shoot down the proposals at a Jan. 22 meeting.

Although it's unclear when the proposals will be available for public viewing, the McKinley Park Neighborhood Advisory Council's community forum is scheduled to take place from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at the offices of the Service Employees International Union, 2229 S. Halsted St.