Charter operator Concept Schools has put forward a new location for its school planned for the Chatham neighborhood.
The Concept charter school in Chatham, approved by the Chicago Board of Education in January, was slated to open this month in a building owned by a non-profit associated with the Rev. Charles Jenkins’ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Officials with Concept Schools, which is being investigated by the FBI for an “ongoing white-collar crime matter,” say that building won’t be ready in time for the first day of school. The charter operator is instead proposing to open the new school at 9130 S. Vincennes Ave., the former site of a Christian school.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the owners of the proposed Vincennes Avenue property have $2 million in outstanding payments due to Urban Partnership Bank, of which Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale is a chairman. The bank has taken legal action to try to foreclose on the property.
The Chicago Board of Education is slated to take up the new Concept location in Chatham at next Wednesday’s meeting. Vitale, who did not take part in selecting the new location, will not vote on the project, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey told the newspaper.
At a community meeting Tuesday, some local parents spoke in support of the proposed school. Brian Harris, the president of the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, was at least one opponent of the proposal at the meeting.
“This is an organization that is under investigation by the FBI currently,” he said, the newspaper reported. “This organization is the embodiment of the worst practices of the charter school movement. You have the corruption, you have the criminality, you have the union busting and you have the undemocratic imposition of the school on the community.”
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