CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials are recommending the approval of a controversial new charter school in Gage Park, the district said Monday.
The Chicago Board of Education will vote Wednesday on whether to approve the Noble charter system's plan for a charter high school on the Southwest Side.
The school would be the first such charter on the Southwest Side, and has garnered opposition from some parents, students, community groups and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Noble has asked the city for approval to build a 1,100-student capacity school on a lot near 47th Streets and California Avenue in Gage Park.
Noble officials have said a charter is needed on the Southwest side for two reasons: because local public schools are overcrowded and because more than 2,000 students from the area travel to charters on the North side.
"We see a huge demand for a Noble school on the Southwest Side," said Matt McCabe, Noble's director of government affairs. "That's why we're getting support from local officials, local businesses and parents."
CPS officials agreed, saying in a statement that the charter "will provide an additional quality option on Chicago's Southwest side to meet unmet demand."
Seven of the nine high schools within two miles of the proposed Noble location are "above their ideal capacity," CPS said.
Some Gage Park neighbors disagree with the proposal. A rally against the plan was held at Gage Park High School in September. There, Principal Brian Metcalf said a charter in the area would hurt schools like Gage Park, where strides have been made to better education and safety for students.
The Southwest side school would be Noble's 17th campus in the city, CPS said. The school would be built with donations, Noble said, while the state will give it per-pupil funding. If approved, the school would be ready by 2016, Noble said.
CPS is also recommending the board approve a second charter school at its Wednesday meeting. The district is asking for approval for Knowledge is Power Program's fifth Chicago campus, which would serve the Austin, West Garfield Park and West Humboldt Park neighborhoods.
Only two of the seven proposals for new charter schools have CPS backing, as the district has asked the board to deny approval to five other charter school proposals at Wednesday's meeting.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: