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Mike Klonsky reports that Chicago suburban districts have thus far been able to block charters from moving in.
These are not affluent districts.
“Chicago Heights is a south-of-the-city suburb with a high concentration of poverty and a rapidly-growing Mexican immigrant population. District #170 schools have in many ways borne the brunt of an eroding tax base, loss of manufacturing jobs and the recession of the past decade. While the schools struggle to implement the district’s reform plan, including a new middle-grade STEM academy, and prepare at the same time, for the next round of PARCC tests, progress remains slow. Test scores remain the carte du jour for judging schools and teachers, leaving districts like the Heights vulnerable to interventions by the state.
“Gov. Rauner now threatens even more draconian cuts to school budgets and health and social services that will negatively impact the schools and communities in Chicago’s inner-ring suburbs. He’s proposing that suburbs’ income tax revenue be cut in half
“Towns like Chicago Heights have become the new target areas for poorly-regulated, expanding networks of privately-run charter schools which have already saturated the inner-city market. Recently, District #149 in Dolton/Calumet City was able to beat back a charter takeover attempt by over-hyped Urban Prep.
“Nearby South Holland also rejected an assault on their district by a company called LIFE Academy Charters. Their board also voted unanimously in September 2013 to reject a charter proposal by Urban Prep.”
The charter chains are eying the suburban districts. Governor Rauner loves charters. Will he override the will of the local school board?