SOUTH LOOP — The public will be able to weigh in Thursday on Chicago Public Schools’ controversial plan to shutter a South Loop elementary school and turn it into a neighborhood high school.
The meeting to discuss the new high school’s boundaries will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 3241 S. Federal St.
The meeting comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by National Teachers Academy parents, who sued CPS in an effort to stop the district from closing their elementary school. In the suit, parents allege that district officials used a racially discriminatory metric to close NTA and argued that the decision would disproportionately burden the African-American kids who currently attend the grade school, The Chicago Reporter reported.
The CPS school board voted to close the NTA elementary school over several years in February.
The high school will still be called the National Teachers Academy, but would serve high school students from all or parts of the South Loop, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Chinatown and other Near South Side neighborhoods.
South Loop families have clamored for years for a new high school in the growing neighborhood, but the move comes at the sacrifice of the elementary school, which achieved academic success recently despite serving a predominantly low-income student body.
When the plan was announced, former CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and then-Chief Education Officer Janice K. Jackson said the high school plan “was an important step toward building diverse, high quality neighborhood schools that will serve your children from pre-K through high school graduation.” Jackson is now CEO of CPS.
“We did not make this decision lightly, and we believe this is in the best interest of the entire community,” the joint statement read. “We also believe it was important to make a decision so that we could move forward together.”