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Parents and taxpayers vow to fight politically connected UNO Charter School slated for the 36th Ward

CHICAGO – Hundreds of 36th Ward taxpayers are vowing to fight any effort to allow a politically connected, unproven charter school to destabilize their higher performing neighborhood schools.  Today at 4 p.m., parents, teachers and residents will meet at Sayre Elementary School, 1850 Newland Avenue, to rally against UNO’s proposal to open a charter school in their ward.

The City Council Zoning Committee, chaired by UNO founder Ald. Danny Solis (25th Ward), is expected to vote tomorrow in a hearing at 10 a.m. at City Hall.  At last week’s committee meeting only two UNO supporters indicated they were from the ward. More than 150 impacted Galewood residents have already expressed their opposition to the plan to Ald. Nicholas Sposato.  Their voices join a growing chorus of parents who are outraged by the Board of Education’s blatant disregard for community input on proposed school actions.

“Our community does not need another school,” said Letty Zavala, whose children attend Sayre. “They told us UNO is coming to relieve overcrowding. That’s simply not true. The four schools closest to the proposed UNO site actually have space for 223 more students, according to CPS’ formula for ‘optimal utilization.’ Ald. Solís should honor the wishes of the Galewood community.”

UNO Charter Schools aggressively compete with neighborhood schools for students using slick marketing campaigns that flood the targeted community.  

In 2009, The Illinois General Assembly unanimously approved a capital funding bill that allocates $100 million to the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) to build new schools in overcrowded areas.

 

 

Total Student

Capacity

# Over/Under

% Capacity

Overall

NEIGHBORHOOD

SCHOOLS

 

Enrollment

Enrollment

(80% is ideal)

All-State Exams

Burbank

1180

1665

-152

71%

75

Sayre

611

870

-85

70%

81

Lock

1291

1230

307

101%

76

Lovett

475

960

-293

49%

72

 

3557

4725

-223

75%

76

 

 

 

Under-enrolled

Average

Average

“For every student who leaves our community schools, educational dollars will go to the new UNO school. This unfair ‘competition’ will hurt the existing schools that serve the community,” said Sayre Local School Council Chair Jennifer O’Connor.  “This action will cause our neighborhood schools to suffer.”

The Chicago Teachers Union has taken the Board to task for pouring millions of public dollars into politically connected, privately held, charter organizations like UNO. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, roughly a third of UNO schools are failing and by CPS’ own standards would be subject to closure, turnaround or phase out. 

“The four schools closest to the UNO site average a 76 overall score for all state tests, which is 10 points better than the district’s average score of 66. The 76 average score is also better than the UNO network elementary score of 73. If this is truly about children, then we need to support the successful schools already in our community,” said CTU organizer Joseph McDermott.  

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois.  For more information visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.

SG:oteg-743-tr

 

Chicago Teachers Union