CPS Parent Testimony against new SEHS to BOE: February 24, 2016 BOE meeting

Sandra Hamilton, parent at Blaine and Lane Tech

My name is Sandra Hamilton, I’ve been a CPS parent for 11 years, with children at Blaine elementary and Lane Tech.

I’m here today to ask you to cancel your plans for Obama Prep HS, a $60 million project which, if cancelled, and TIF funds surplused, could yield over $30M for CPS.

At a time when CPS has borrowed over $700M to pay bills, and we parents are once again beingforced to fundraise for the additional cuts just announced, the advancement of this project brings into question your fiduciary responsibility to our system. When the proposed site was rejected by residents and city officials, you decided to approve, just this school year, over $500K for a location consultant to search for a new site for this school.  That money alone would fund many schools for the rest of this year.

Leaving the $60 million cost aside, this project furthers the educational inequality in our city and is bad practice.

I know this because I toured neighborhood and selective high schools last year with my daughter. I very much wanted her to attend our neighborhood high school because there are wonderful things happening there led by an invested principal, alderman and parents, but after seeing the stark differences in facilities and course offerings, how could I say no when she was accepted to Lane Tech?

Opening another SEHS which will only serve a small percentage of children - in an area already benefiting from a $17 m expansion to its existing SE school - makes no good economic or political sense when our neighborhood schools are starved for resources.

Please do your job and encourage the Mayor to cancel this project. All students should have access to Selective Enrollment-type resources but that doesn’t exist in this current caste system which segregates children according to privilege and ability and gives the more advantaged, like my child, a better deal.  I hope that when my 2nd child is HS bound, this will be corrected and all options are trulyfully-funded. Please - cancel Obama Prep and get the city to send $30M back to CPS to resource our neighborhood schools.