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Little Black Pearl Now Wants to Take Over Dyett High School

By Sam Cholke | February 4, 2015 5:26am
 Little Black Pearl will join Coalition to Revitalize Dyett in submitting a proposal for reopening Dyett High School.
Little Black Pearl will join Coalition to Revitalize Dyett in submitting a proposal for reopening Dyett High School.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Competition to run Dyett High School ramped up Tuesday when the Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy said it will put in a bid to take over the school — a move an official had once dismissed as "ridiculous."

Little Black Pearl Executive Director Monica Haslip confirmed Tuesday that the academy is preparing a proposal for Chicago Public Schools to operate an open-enrollment contract high school with an arts focus.

Dyett, 555 E. 51st St., is scheduled to close at the end of the current school year when the last 12 students from the school graduate. After pressure from community groups, Chicago Public Schools has asked for proposals for how Dyett could be kept open as a public or contract school.

“This is an opportunity that anybody in this community that has a good idea about how to bring higher and better education should absolutely apply,” Haslip said.

A coalition of community groups is also planning to submit a proposal developed by professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago and CPS teachers to keep the school open as a CPS-run school with a focus on green technology.

Jitu Brown of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett was quick to dismiss a proposal by Little Black Pearl as wrong for Dyett.

“Little Black Pearl is a wonderful arts organization, but they haven’t shown the capacity to run a school,” Brown said.

He said he was worried a deal was being cut behind closed doors with Little Black Pearl, which was rumored in July to be in talks with Ald. Will Burns (4th) and CPS to take over Dyett.

Haslip said in July that the speculation was “ridiculous” and the building was too big and unsuitable for Little Black Pearl.

On Tuesday, she again said the speculation at the time had been ridiculous and said that Little Black Pearl was only now starting to consider opening a new school in Dyett because CPS was seeking proposals.

A representative from CPS was unavailable to comment.

Proposals for Dyett are due to CPS by April 6 with the school expected to reopen for the 2016 school year.

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