Most Chicago aldermen want a moratorium placed on the opening of new charter schools in the city and the state this school year.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) introduced a charter school moratorium resolution at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, and it has been signed by 42 out of the council's 50 aldermen.
The non-binding resolution, which has been sent to the council's education committee, calls on both the Chicago Board of Education and the Illinois State Board of Education to implement a charter school moratorium for the 2015-2016 school year.
Aldermen are pushing for the moratorium ahead of the Chicago Board of Education's October meeting, during which school board members could authorize new charter and contract schools. Chicago Public Schools officials are currently weighing 17 new school proposals, though the district originally received 22 such plans before some were withdrawn.
"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," Sawyer said in a statement. "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."
"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," the alderman added. "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."
In response to the introduction of the charter school moratorium resolution, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said: "Whether at STEM, [International Baccalaureate], neighborhood or charter schools, we are equally committed to providing our students and parents with high-quality choices and to hold every school, regardless of school type, accountable to rigorous academic standards."
"While CPS faces serious financial challenges, we must continue to invest in high-quality schools and programs to protect our academic gains and ensure our students graduate ready for college, career and life," he continued.