CHICAGO — Two Urban Prep Academy schools have lost their appeal to have their charter status renewed.
According to Chalkbeat Chicago, the charter school network however has filed a lawsuit to stop both the Bronzeville and Englewood campuses being controlled by Chicago Public Schools.
The schools were both nationally recognized for their graduations rates with African American boys, but CPS said they were financially mismanaged and moved last fall to take control of the charters.
There were also allegations of sexual misconduct by the schools founder who left the charter school network.
CPS said it will do what it can to ease the transition for students and try and keep staff members who qualify at the schools.
Chicago Board of Education moved to take control of the schools last fall. Urban Prep then appealed that decision to the state board of education, which denied Urban Prep’s request over the objection of some state lawmakers.
According to Chalkbeat, the schools lawsuit is based on a state law on moratorium on school closing until 2025. But the online non-profit news organization points out the schools won’t be closed, just moved to CPS.
Urban Prep has released the following statement:
We are very disappointed that the Illinois State Board of Education has denied our appeal of the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education’s decision to close Urban Prep. Nevertheless, we remain committed to ensuring that Urban Prep and the thousands of students it has served remains open. To that end, Urban Prep Academies has filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County asserting that the Chicago Public Schools has violated state law that there be a moratorium on school closings until 2025. We trust that the courts will rule in favor of justice and Urban Prep students and families.
Further, we are asking the Illinois General Assembly and Mayor-elect Johnson to intervene to stop the dismantling of Urban Prep Academies. It’s important to note how high the stakes are. If the courts or elected leaders do not step in, the nation’s first network of charter high schools for boys and Illinois’ only all-boys public schools, will cease to exist.
Further, Urban Prep has had an unparalleled level of success for its students. Urban Prep’s 90% high school graduation, for example, dwarfs CPS’s 65% high school graduation rate for Black males. Across every metric, Urban Prep outperforms Chicago Public Schools for our demographic, which makes the CPS and ISBE decisions even more confounding.