‘Ridious and infuriating’: Urban Prep fights CPS takeover to retain charter status

CHICAGO (SCS) — For years, the city of Chicago has celebrated Urban Prep Academy for its graduation rate and countless other accomplishments.

Now school leaders are asking Mayor Lori Lightfoot for help. They are trying to fight off pressure from Chicago Public Schools to revoke the charters of two of its schools.

As CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray reported on Tuesday, Urban Prep executives want the mayor to step in and stop the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) attempt to take over their two campuses.

Urban Prep Academy, the only all-male black charter school known for its 100% graduation rate, is now in the crosshairs and at risk of losing its license.

On Tuesday, anger filled the auditorium at the Urban Prep Englewood campus. The Chicago Public Schools Board is expected to vote on Wednesday to take over the Englewood and Bronzeville campuses.

“They have the audacity to think they’ve managed to take Urban Prep and make it a program from another CPS high school. It’s both ridiculous and infuriating,” said Dennis Lacewell, director of studies.

But district officials presented a broad case against the school. Failures include that only a third of its teachers are certified, there are no services for students with disabilities, and finances are mismanaged.

“A lot of the issues they’re referring to are from years ago. And it’s worth noting that in those years we’ve been approved and renewed each of those years,” said general manager Troy Boyd Jr. .

He talks about fiscal year 2015 and 2016. They said since then they haven’t had any problems. Earlier this year, Urban Prep founder Tim King was expelled after CPS learned of a possible inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student.

This investigation is ongoing. The school said it was retaliation.

“We believe CPS is incapable of separating our former CEO and founder from what is currently happening at Urban Prep, the current leadership that exists. And that’s problematic,” Boyd said.

The school board is due to vote on the issue Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Urban Prep Academy said staff and students plan to attend.


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