The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), which formerly managed the UNO Charter School Network, is facing potential bankruptcy, according to media reports.
The Hispanic community organization is "on the brink of insolvency" and it "may have no option left than to file for bankruptcy," UNO CEO Rick Cerda told the group's board in a letter Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Six charters located in UNO-owned buildings, and the 4,000 students who attend those schools, could be impacted by the potential bankruptcy, Cerda wrote in the letter.
"Once we file for bankruptcy, the school buildings will no longer be in UNO's control and instead will be in the hands of the bankruptcy trustee and UNO's creditors," the letter read. "This means that the school buildings will ultimately be sold as part of this procedure."
According to Cerda, UNO has yet to receive the $4 million it is owed from the charter network for rent for its school buildings and management services.
The UNO Charter School Network, which says it has 30-year leases for the school buildings, asserts that "schools will remain open, regardless of UNO's financial status."
Chicago Alds. Proco Joe Moreno (1st), George Cardenas (12th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Daniel Solis (25th) and Gilbert Villegas (36th) issued this joint statement in response to news of UNO's potential bankruptcy:
We are appalled to learn that the education of 4,000 students from our communities have been put at risk due to deliberate and reckless actions taken on the part by UCSN and its CEO, Rich Rodriguez. He has spent the last year doing everything in his power to push UNO towards bankruptcy without any regard for thousands of students under his watch whose very education may be jeopardized due to his actions. Every step must be taken by UCSN to avoid closing these schools. That starts with UCSN doing the right thing by paying UNO what is contractually owed to them.