CHICAGO (CBS) — Supporters of a charter school that is set to close were ready to fight, but then the battle got canceled.
The supporters of the Chicago Virtual Charter School – which is set to close – were planning to be at a critical hearing to save the school. But the State of Illinois pulled the plug on the hearing at the last minute.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory has been investigating the Chicago Vocational Charter School for a year. On Thursday, she looked into the sudden schedule change.
The state said the location chosen for the hearing was not handicap-accessible. But the appeal was on the calendar for weeks.
So why did no one realize until a few hours ahead of the scheduled hearing that Americans with Disabilities Act compliancy was an issue?
The Illinois State Board of Education canceled the hearing shortly before a previously-scheduled rally to save the school. Chicago Virtual Charter School students, parents, and staff will have to consider the rally a practice round.
CVCS is on the chopping block from years of poor performance in the eyes of Chicago Public Schools. The district revoked CVCS’ charter last year.
On Thursday, CVCS administrators said they were prepared to prove the state has the school deserves a second chance.
“We have all new administration. We have new teachers. We have new staff,” said interim CVCS Chief Executive Officer Vikki Stokes. So we wanted to express to the state how we’ve been growing; how we acknowledge the Chicago Public School District’s determination of how we performed last year, but also, we wanted to cite how we’re growing from that; how we’re transforming and shaping a new culture here.”
CVCS junior Leah Kelly also said she was ready to talk to the state.
She told Victory she would have said “that even though we had troubles with faulty administration, that it’s not a reflection of this school’s community.”
Before the rally, CVCS administrators asked parents to stay energized. Many of them were frustrated that the hearing the canceled at the midnight hour.
Some made special travel arrangements to attend the rally, while others took a day off of work.
“It’s kind of disappointing that it’s been postponed, and I was just telling my sister, I don’t – I’m not sure if I’ll be able to come next week,” said Michelle Mallory, the CVCS students’ act.
“For them to cancel at such the last minute when everyone has gathered here and made those arrangements, it’s disheartening,” said CVCS parent Symara Moses. “So we’re just going to be hopeful that we can get it rescheduled, that they will rightfully hear us out as they’ve done other schools going through this, and let us have our due process.”
The hearing on Thursday was supposed to take place on neutral ground, at Old St. Pat’s Church. The state said CVCS agreed to that.
The school’s CEO said she did not request the hearing be canceled, but said she pointed out the venue had parking and space issues in addition to handicap accessibility problems earlier this week.
The new appeals hearing date is not yet set.