The Chicago school district says it is investing $40 million to improve programs and facilities at Hyde Park Academy High School, which is adjacent to the site of the planned Obama Presidential Center.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the overhaul was announced amid concerns expressed by community groups that the school would be sold to developers to take advantage of the economic boost the Obama center is expected to bring.,
Janice Jackson, the district’s chief executive officer, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the improvement plan Tuesday at the school.
Hyde Park Academy High has about 740 students, nearly all of them African-American.
Some have questioned why the district is adding capacity to schools as enrollment across Chicago continues to fall, particularly among African-American families.
Hyde Park’s principal, Antonio Ross, says he has lobbied for roof and tuckpointing repairs for the 100-plus-year-old building, but acknowledges that his school’s proximity to the presidential center also likely played a role in securing funding.
“I think our new neighbor helped out a lot,” he says.