CHICAGO (CBS) — A judge is expected to rule Monday afternoon on an effort to block Chicago Public Schools officials from closing a South Loop elementary school, and converting it into a high school.
Many parents and students say the district’s move will cause “educational harm” to students who will have to move to a different school, and they plan to fight to the end.
Parents and students have been fighting against the plan to convert National Teacher’s Academy into a high school from the beginning, and have filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt the move.
The district plans to convert the elementary school into a high school serving 1,100 students in five communities, including the South Loop, Bridgeport, and Chinatown.
Opponents of the plan held a rally Monday morning outside the school, which opened more than 10 years ago, and serves predominantly black and low-income students.
Supporters of the school said it has been a top-performing school, and closing it will force students to move to a lower-performing elementary school.
“I have seen the community fall and come back up. I have seen our school go down and come back up, but we came back up and we hit them hard, and it would be sad if you take this away from us,” NTA parent Audrey Johnson said.
Over the summer, parents and community groups filed a lawsuit against CPS, claiming the district’s plan for NTA violates the Illinois Civil Rights act and the Illinois School Code.
Parents said NTA serves more than just students, but others who live in the area, through a health clinic.
NTA student Kayla Perkins said she’s been at the school since kindergarten, and hopes a judge will rule in their favor.
“It has caused many of us sleepless nights, and continued worry about our amazing education we are receiving behind the walls of NTA, not to mention the daily stress that we are faced with because of the uncertainty,” she said.
A judge is expected to rule on the request for an injunction Monday afternoon. He’ll also decide on a motion by CPS to dismiss the lawsuit.