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.

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


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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.

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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.