Despite closings and budget cuts, CPS calls for new charter schools
BY LAUREN FITZPATRICK Education Reporter August 13, 2013 7:50PM
Updated: August 13, 2013 9:57PM
As Chicago Public Schools officials finish shuttering a record number of schools and leave many neighborhood schools to open their doors in two weeks with diminished budgets, the district has quietly issued a call for new charter schools.
In a 52-page PDF posted without fanfare on the district’s website, CPS is asking for new charter operators and campuses for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years mainly — but not only — in 11 so-called “priority communities” on the Northwest and Southwest Sides where district-run schools have been complaining of overcrowding.
“The focus of this year’s (request for proposals) is to address communities that are experiencing overcrowding, which is a separate issue from underutilization,” CPS spokeswoman Keiana Barrett said, adding that the call for charters is one strategy proposed to help with overcrowding. Others, as laid out in the city’s 10-year Educational Facilities Master Plan, advises redefining attendance area boundaries, building annexes, or building new facilities, but the district’s finances are tight, Barrett said.
“However, we need to pursue all options throughout all geographies since we can’t simply build our way out of the overcrowding challenges on the Southwest