The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved 13 new schools yesterday, including campuses in Garfield Park, South Chicago and South Shore.
Ten of the 13 schools are contract schools or new campuses for existing charter schools.
Many of the new schools will give a preference to students living in the community where the school is located. After those spots are filled, attendance will be managed with a citywide lottery.
Fifty community members from West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, South Chicago and South Shore served on Community Transition Advisory Councils to help with new school planning, and many of them filled the board’s chambers Wednesday with support for the proposals.
“We’re hoping this will do a lot for the neighborhood,“ Tanisha Hall said of the new South Loop of South Shore school, which features a fine-arts program.
The board had previously approved a number of other new schools. Yesterday's additional mean CPS will open 23 new schools during the next academic year.
Mayor Richard M. Daley's Renaissance 2010 plan has identified 25 communities as priorities for new school construction.
Whe the schools approved yesterday open, the district will have new campuses in 19 of those communities.
By 2010, all 25 communities will have gotten a new school, and the district will have opened 107 schools in total, says says Josh Edelman, CPS new schools director.
Five more school proposals, all with fall 2010 planned openings, will come before the board in November.
“I can’t be more excited. This is just the culmination of our good work,“ Edelman says.
While CPS is adding schools, the number of additional charter schools is limited by state law. There is a cap of 30 charter holders in Chicago, and that number has already been reached.
Current charter holders can add charter schools, as the Noble Street Charter School did Wednesday with the addition of the Chicago Bulls College Prep campus and the Muchin College Prep campus. However, new charter schools from first-time charter applicants can’t be considered.
“The biggest challenge for us, beyond the funding challenge, is just the charter cap,“ Edelman says.
Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.