Chicago, Illinois (NED)– A resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools garnered broad support after its introduction by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) on Thursday, with 40 aldermen signing on as sponsors, The resolution comes less than a month before the Chicago Board of Education meeting where the approval of potentially 22 new charters is under consideration.
“Just a few years after CPS closed 50 public, neighborhood schools, and with our school system facing a continued funding crisis, the last thing we need is 22 new, privately managed charter schools added to the pool,” said Ald. Sawyer. “The vast majority of aldermen oppose the opening of new charters this year, while we face a massive budget crisis and no path to adequately funding our neighborhood schools.”
In addition, each student who enrolls in a new charter takes with him the per-capita student allotment of dollars, thus reducing the available funds to support the neighborhood school. The loss of students in the local public school results in the loss of teacher positions.
“As we impoverish the neighborhood schools, they inevitably become less desirable places. It’s a zero-sum game, as the local school is bled dry,” explained Ald. Sawyer.
CPS faces a fiscal crisis, with an estimated $500 million budget deficit.
“With so many neighborhood schools taking severe budget cuts, it is common sense that we should attempt to steady the ship before pushing forward with new schools,” said Ald. Sawyer. “We need to slow this process down. Charter schools are also having problems filling seats, so the mission of these schools is becoming more about marketing than education. Let's deal with our current financial difficulties, see what is working and what is not working. and then do what is best for all our children.”
Sawyer added, “Whole communities are anchored by strong neighborhood schools, and it should be our priority to support them fully first.”