ROGERS PARK — Charter school expansion in the city can at times be controversial, but Thursday night, nearly 100 teachers, parents and students of the Chicago Math and Science Academy praised their school's progress and expressed support to boost its enrollment by 100 students.
"Our family is always ready to grow and take on more people," said Ken Johnson, a school administrator, at the meeting held inside Rogers Park's Clark Street firehouse.
Although not one person spoke against the expansion, most of the attendees were current students, teachers or administrators.
Attendees were also served pizza at CMSA after the meeting.
If the Board of Education approves the request, the charter at 7212 N. Clark St. would add 100 high school students over the next four academic years, Johnson said.
CMSA's enrollment has been capped at 600 students since 2004.
Principal Aydin Kara said 500 students applied for just 100 open spots — awarded by lottery — for the 2014-15 school year.
Students who applied but were not chosen are placed on a waiting list, he said.
He said parents who want their children to attend the school but don't win a lottery spot are "frustrated."
He said CMSA would hire more teachers and the school's average class size would grow from 27.4 to 28 students.
Bernice Mahan, a parent with a special needs child in the school, said at the meeting she wanted "more parents to experience what I've experience" at CMSA.
Betza Roman, an eighth-grade student at the school, said she also wished more students would be admitted.
"At CMSA, I feel so comfortable that I can be myself," she said.
Sophomore Cameron Ward agreed.
"Every day I wake up expecting a dream to end," he said, praising his school. "I want another kid ... to experience that."
The official record for comments regarding the proposed expansion will be held open until 5 p.m. Friday.