Last song at Choir charter school?

The Chicago Board of Education will decide the fate of a musically oriented charter school on the South Side tomorrow.

Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman is recommending closure of the Choir Academy Charter School of Chicago. The school opened in 2001, at one point offering about 175 kindergarten through eighth-grade students choral, piano and drum classes.

Faculty and parents have known for months about financial problems at the school, a CPS spokesman says. Tomorrow, at the school board's regular monthly meeting, officials will decide whether to close it.

"It's been at least six months since they knew that they had the debt problem," spokesman Malon Edwards says. He says he does not know the exact amount of the obligation.

Huberman's recommendation to shut down the Choir Academy cites reduced enrollment, and notes that Choir agrees with the closure.

Kevin Slaughter, president of the school's board, did not immediately return calls. The school's principal declined to comment.

According to CPS data, the Choir Academy improved in several measures of academic progress during the 2008 school year. At least 72 percent of students exceeded state standards in reading and mathematics, and 63 percent exceeded them in science.

If the board approves shutting down Choir Academy, it would be the sixth school set to close this year due to underuse or facilities problems.

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