Rogers Park neighborhood schools, already struggling with budget cut after budget cut, now face the threat of losing additional thousands of dollars due to proposed charter expansion.
Our neighborhood schools have already been severely impacted by two large charter schools – Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA) and UNO-Rogers Park. They have siphoned off more than 1,000 local students into privatized education – which lacks much of the transparency, accountability, and parent involvement that is integral to public education.
National research indicates that privately-run charters do not perform better than public schools, and are more segregated.
The 49th Ward community has already spoken clearly against moves to privatize our public education through the “No to Noble” coalition of parents and community activists, which was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Senator Heather Steans, and State Representative Kelly Cassidy.
The Network 49 “Charter Freeze” referendum, opposing any new charter expansion in the 49th Ward, won the support of 62.6% (11,342 votes) on last November’s ballot.
Alderman Joe Moore, however, continues to ignore the majority of his constituents on this issue. He has been holding private meetings with charter operators for months, with no communication to the community as a whole, not even to his own neighborhood school organization, CORPS.
Two proposals for new and expanded charter schools in Rogers Park are now being considered by CPS:
- CMSA has requested that 100 more high school students be added to the school over four years, increasing its student body from 600 to 700. Sullivan High School would be directly and negatively affected. The loss of 100 students represents about $500,000 in annual funding.
- A Michigan-based Assyrian charter organization, KEYS Nineveh Academy, has proposed creating a k-5 charter school, which would provide Assyrian cultural education and aims to “incorporate the heritage of Iraqi Christians,” according to the organization’s president. Network 49 recognizes that all our many immigrant communities need special attention and resources. We are committed to creating the safest and most welcoming community possible during these difficult times. But we also know that our neighborhood schools have worked tirelessly to serve immigrant children, and we will continue to fight for strengthening these schools, rather than further dividing up our communities and slicing away already inadequate funding.
We ask all residents and organizations of Rogers Park to contact Alderman Moore at 773-338-5796 with a clear message to stop diversion of our scarce public dollars to privatized charters and away from our public neighborhood schools in Rogers Park.