Hundreds of Parents and Students Urging Ald. Emma Mitts to Approve Expansion of Speer Academy's Building
CHICAGO, IL – Hundreds of parents and students are urging 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts to allow an expansion of ITW David Speer Academy to make room for approximately 300 additional students. Construction of the building will be funded with private philanthropy and no public dollars. The community is demonstrating tremendous demand for Speer – there are currently over 2,000 applications for just 150 coveted freshman seats for the 2017-18 school year.
Charter school's building's construction to be funded by donors requiring no public dollars
Prancella Minor, a parent with a Speer student from the Austin neighbored, added, “I'm so grateful that my son is able to attend Speer, but there are hundreds of families stuck waiting for the same opportunity. Alderman Mitts: please stand up for Austin families and allow Speer to serve more students.”
Now in its third year, Speer Academy, part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, is a top-rated Level 1+ school providing a first-class Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to over 800 students, the majority of whom live in the Austin and Belmont-Cragin neighborhoods. Speer requires no admissions testing, and is open to all Chicago Public School students. The school has also been recognized for its innovative STEM partnership with Northwestern University.
“We’re proud to serve more than 800 students from Austin and Belmont-Cragin, and want to be able to meet the demand from even more local families,” said Speer’s Principal Tom Mulder. “Alderman Mitts has visited our campus and witnessed the success of our students firsthand. We’re asking her to step-up again and allow this building expansion to move forward, on behalf of the families we serve.”
Importantly, Speer is not proposing a new campus, nor is the school requesting to increase their number of allotted charter school seats. The high school is currently operating beneath their enrollment cap due to its building’s size constraints, and requires only a modest building expansion to serve 300 additional students. Given the overwhelming demand by area families and already completed fundraising to pay for the project, the only remaining hurdle for the expansion to move forward is the support of Alderman Mitts. The project requires the City Council’s approval for the expansion of the school’s planned development, meaning the school needs the support of its local alderman to make this project happen. Unless Speer is able to receive approval by May 17, they will be unable to have an expansion ready in time for the 2018-19 school year.