CHICAGO (CBS) — Leaders of an exclusive Chicago school square off with protesters who are accusing administators of sneaky moves.
Leaders at Francis Parker school have been quietly buying up nearby condos and neighbors are upset.
Francis Parker officials won’t talk to CBS 2 and residents feel they have been left out of the loop.
So protesters mobilized last night, hit a nerve and rolled tape.
On video, Parker trustee Tamar Newberger was the only one to speak with the protesters last night outside the school’s holiday program.
“I actually, totally, 100 percent, think that Parker will and is working for the community,” Newberger said.
But some members of that community, namely those living along the north edge of the land-locked Lincoln Park campus don’t feel the prep school is working for them.
“I have somebody breathing down my shoulder telling me that they can’t wait to get me out of here,” said Jerry Savoy.
Past efforts by the school to buy nearby condo buildings were rejected by the condo boards. So, the school has been slowly and quietly buying condos in a bid to control board seats.
In October, a school representative said “we bought those two units under cover of night.” That description of the school’s stealthly approach was brought up by protesters last night.
When pressed for what the school’s plan is for the handful of condos the now own, here is what the trustee said, in the first public comment since the story broke.
“I totally care about this,” said Newberger. “You need to know, you totally need to know. We all care. My issue, totally, is all facts.”
When pressed for Parker’s plans, and fears the school wants to buy out the condos to tear them down to expand the school, Newberger said, “I don’t have an expansion plan.”
Parker officials have apologized for using the phrase “under the cover of night.” Neighors said, with a looming school expansion, property values are suffering.