Pilsen residents are planning to make a strong showing at a last-minute CPS hearing tonight over letting a charter school move into a building that until June had been occupied by De La Cruz Middle School.
CPS slated De La Cruz for closure two years ago as part of Renaissance 2010, says Pilsen Alliance Executive Director Alejandra Ibañez. The building was to be torn down and the land sold.
Instead, and with little notice to the community, CPS decided to let one of UNO’s charter schools relocate to the building, Ibañez says.
In a recent letter to Pilsen residents, CPS Board President Michael Scott said it was an emergency decision made in late July because UNO’s current building four blocks away needs $1 million in structural repairs. The school would move to De La Cruz’s campus for one year to allow for the repairs.
“This facility (De La Cruz) remains unviable as a long-term Chicago Public School facility, though, and the Board will move forward with plans to put the property up for sale,” Scott says in the letter.
The letter has done little to mollify Ibañez.
“They made a commitment that they were not going to open up a charter school in the neighborhood,” Ibañez says.
She and other residents worry the temporary move will become permanent.
“To the extent that this compromises what had originally been communicated to the community, we apologize, but we are working in the best interest of children and families,” Scott writes.
The hearing is at 6 p.m. tonight at St. Augustine College, 2610 W. 25th Place.
The Board of Education is slated to vote on allowing the move at its Wednesday meeting.