FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6th, 2017
CONTACT: Cody Rogers (312) 884-1389, press@noblenetwork.org
ITW David Speer Academy Parents Canvass Ald. Emma Mitts’ Ward As Hundreds of Residents Sign in Support of Speer Building Expansion

Charter school’s additional building to be funded by donors requiring no public dollars 
 
CHICAGO, IL – Dozens of parents spent their Saturday canvassing Alderman Emma Mitts’ 37th Ward, gathering hundreds of signatures in support of the expansion of ITW David Speer Academy. If Ald. Mitts lends her support to the project before the city’s zoning committee this month, then the generosity of private donors can be utilized to pay for the multi-million dollar expansion, which will make room for approximately 300 more students. Demand for a Speer education is intense; for the upcoming school year, over 2,000 applications were submitted for a random lottery for just 150 coveted freshman seats. 

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 800 students. 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. 

“Parents volunteering much of their Saturday by canvassing the neighborhood to help grow Speer tells the whole story,” said Speer’s Principal Tom Mulder. “Alderman Mitts has visited our campus and witnessed the success of our students firsthand. She has always been encouraging and supportive so we respectfully ask her to step-up again and allow this building expansion.”

“We want to encourage community members to call on Ald. Mitts to support the expansion of Speer Academy,” said parent LaToya Hayes.  “I have been lucky enough to send my son to Speer, and I think more families in our neighborhood should have the option to send their kids to the best school in our ward.”

Speer’s expansion is not a new campus being proposed nor a request to increase Speer’s 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, this would seem to be a very reasonable request 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. And urgency exists, because unless Speer is able to receive approval this month, they will be unable to have an expansion ready in time for the 2018-19 school year.
 
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