Chicago school district administrators are recommending the closure of two poorly performing charter schools as well as the rejection of three proposals for new charter campuses.
The district says in a news release that Kwame Nkrumah Academy on the South Side and Urban Prep Academies West Campus on the Near West Side are not performing well enough to have their charters renewed.
“High-quality charter schools can serve as important options for families, but we have been clear that in order to operate in our district schools must provide students with a high-quality education and applicants must meet a clear need in the community and prove their ability to serve students well,” says district CEO Janice K. Jackson. “The recommendations made today follow comprehensive reviews of school performance, applicant quality and need, and we believe it is in the best interest of our students to deny all new school applications this year and close the two poor performing charters who have failed to provide students the quality education they deserve.”
Regarding Kwame Nkrumah, the district says it based its recommendation on the school's failure to be removed from the academic warning list, its failure to put a mandatory remediation plan in place, and financial and operational problems.
"The district’s site visits suggest that the school lacks the capacity to provide students a high-quality education, and higher-quality school options exist for students in the community," the district says.
The recommendation on Urban Prep West was based on the school’s failure to develop a remediation plan and improve enough to be removed from the academic warning list. Officials also had concerns about the school's finances.
District administrators also will urge the school board to reject three applications for new charter school campuses.
•Intrinsic 2 Charter School has proposed opening a citywide high school downtown that would open next school year, but the operator has not been able to identify a location that meets needs identified by the district.
"Based on the proposal’s inability to meet an existing community need for additional quality seats, [the district] is recommending denial of the proposal," the district says.
•Kemet Leadership Academy Charter School has proposed creating a charter school in the Englewood neighborhood for at-risk boys in grades 5 to 8. Administrators recommend denying the application "because the proposed curriculum is incomplete and unproven, the applicant has not developed a clear instructional approach, there is a lack of demonstrated leadership capacity, and the school’s proposed budget and facility are not viable."
•Moving Everest 2 Charter School has proposed creating a traditional K-8 school in the Austin neighborhood, but administrators found the application lacking.
The district urges the board to deny the charter application "because Moving Everest, an existing charter operator, does not meet the district’s criteria for replication, and because the school’s site visit results were insufficient and the applicant did not demonstrate the capacity or program to serve English Language Learners."
Eight applicants had submitted initial proposals to open charter schools, but five of those applicants withdrew their proposals during the submission and review process.