The Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) approved two new charter schools Wednesday out of the 13 proposals they considered.
The board approved KIPP Academy #5, which will be located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, as well as the expansion of a KIPP school in the city's Austin neighborhood.
The board also approved the proposal for a 17th Noble Network Charter School, which will be a high school located in the Brighton Park neighborhood. Residents of the Brighton Park neighborhood rallied against the proposed charter earlier in the week and hundreds of Kelly High School students walked out Wednesday in protest of the idea of the new charter school opening in the area. Opponents of the Brighton Park charter argue that the school will take away needed resources and funding from the area's already struggling neighborhood schools.
"Why are you opening new schools at the same time you can't even fund the schools you already have? It's unacceptable," Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey inquired of CBOE members Wednesday.
The board also put 10 charter schools on a newly-created academic warning list that is based on their scores on the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP). A SQRP rating of Level 3 resulted in a school being placed on the warning list as well as schools that averaged 2.5 points on the SQRP for two years' time and schools that had a rating of Level 2 over three consecutive years. The highest score that a school can receive on the SQRP is a 3+ on the 5-point scale, according to Catalyst Chicago.
If a school is placed on the list, officials are required to write a letter detailing how they intend to improve the school's performance. If positive changes are not seen within a year, the school runs the risk of losing their charter status.
"The policy will allow us to take faster action against poor performers and focus on making high quality options available where they are needed," Claypool said of the list earlier this week. "This all goes back to a fundamental priority, which is to deliver quality education for our kids regardless of where our families choose to send them."
The schools put on the list include four elementary schools: Betty Shabazz Sizemore, Bronzeville Lighthouse, Galapagos and Kwame Nkrumah and six high schools: Amandla, Aspira's Early College, CICS's ChicagoQuest, Hawkins, Instituto del Progreso Latino's Lozano High, and Prologue's Joshua Johnston. Three of the schools, Amandla, CICS-Hawkins and Shabazz-Sizemore, were reportedly given warnings last year.
The board also approved Ronald Marmer, an attorney who was previously partner at a law firm that donated thousands to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool's political campaign fund, as the district's new counsel. Jesse Ruiz and Dominique Jordan Turner were the board members who voted against Marmer becoming the district's legal representative.
Jose Alfonso de Hoyos-Acosta was also approved to be the district's new chief administrative officer as Tim Crawley announced his resignation last month. The district will also sell Stewart Elementary, located in the city's Uptown neighborhood after receiving the board's approval to do so Wednesday. The school was shuttered as part of the massive round of school closings in 2013.