West Side Alderman Stands Firm Against Charter School Expansion

CHICAGO (CBS) — A West Side alderman is standing firm against the expansion of a charter school in her area, despite pressure from some parents and others.

Officials from the David Speer Academy want 37th ward Ald. Emma Mitts to support a plan to expand the charter school to accommodate 300 more students. However, Mitts says it’s no time for expansion when the public schools system is in a financial crisis. She added that not many neighborhood kids are students at the Noble Network school.

“When Noble expands, it’s going to take away from two other high schools — or three or four,” Mitts said.

 

Ricardo Torres, a Speer parent, says parents deserve the choice. He and other parents like Bobby McCorvey went to City Hall to support a request for a zoning change that would allow the school to expand.

“That’s the bottom line, it’s competition,” Torres said. “The bar has been raised. Something here is working — let’s acknowledge that.”

Still, Mitts is steadfast. And without her approval, the project probably won’t happen.

Speer Academy officials say the expansion would be privately funded. But Mitts says it would still draw students and resources from neighborhood schools at a critical time.

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