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Alternative High School Could Get Extra Year To Find New Home

By Linze Rice | February 26, 2016 6:23am
 About one-third of Truman Middle College students already live in Rogers Park, according to school data.
About one-third of Truman Middle College students already live in Rogers Park, according to school data.
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Facebook/Truman Middle College High School

ROGERS PARK — An alternative charter high school that's called Truman College its home for over 30 years might get one more year to find a new building as the high school faces a serious time crunch.

On Wednesday, Katheryn Hayes, a spokeswoman for Truman College in Uptown, said the non-profit alternative high school — named Truman Middle College — operated by Youth Connection Charter Schools — "will continue instruction through the conclusion of next school year as we work with YCCS and CPS to identify a permanent site for student learning.

“City Colleges remains committed to ensuring a smooth transition for all students enrolled in the Middle College, with no disruption to learning time," Hayes said in an email to DNAinfo.

Chicago Public Schools did not respond to a request for comment.

Richard Reeder, a consultant with Youth Connection Charter Schools, which runs Truman Middle College,  said he'd heard Truman Middle College was being offered an additional year, but there was nothing "in writing" yet.

"There is no official statement from anybody right now," said Reeder, who helped launch the alternative high school network with former Mayor Harold Washington's office in the 1980s. "It would have to be something officially put in writing, but that has not happened yet."

Hayes did not respond to questions asking if City Colleges and Youth Connection Charter Schools had met and discussed the extra year, and did not clarify if the extension was still in the discussion stage or had been made official.

By Thursday, Reeder said he'd spoken with other top Youth Connection Charter Schools officials and no meeting to discuss the lease extension between had taken place yet, and the offer was still in the "stratosphere of rumors."

"We hadn't heard anything, so we were surprised to see" City Colleges' statement, Reeder said. "We're still waiting to hear."

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said Wednesday he was told by a "pretty good authoritative source" that City Colleges had extended the school's lease at the Truman College campus, but was not sure if the charter school network had yet been informed of that.

Reeder and other Youth Connection Charter Schools officials are in a hurry to find a new home after they found out last year that their City Colleges location would no longer be an option.

With about a third of Truman's students already living in Rogers Park, Reeder said the old St. Jerome Catholic school building across from New Field Elementary was an option the school was vying for.

Many students who go to Truman Middle College have either had to leave high school to help support their families, had families themselves, or don't socially or academically fit in at traditional schools, Reeder said.

Some residents have expressed some potential safety concerns, and have taken issue with another school trying to use the St. Jerome building — especially after an attempt by Noble Charter Schools to open a school there last year.

"One year would be nice, but a continuation of the program after 31 years and a successful program, that would be great," Reeder said. "A one-year continuation, that's good. But what would even be better would be not disrupt the program at all and just keep it located at Truman and keep it continuing."

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