CHICAGO – The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously to take over two campuses of the charter school, Urban Prep.
The district cited allegations of financial mismanagement and sexual misconduct against the charter’s founder and former CEO, along with other issues.
“I don’t think Urban Prep should be picked up like this,” Senior Levi Turner said. He says the value of Urban Prep goes beyond the classroom, especially when former students return showing their success.
“They’re coming back in costume, just to show us a better picture that we can be better than just the cowl,” said Turner, who attends the Englewood campus.
Some students and parents fear a CPS takeover could alter the city’s only all-male charter schools, which now boast a nearly 100 percent college acceptance rate.
The board cited allegations of sexual misconduct against charter founder and former CEO Tim King.
“It sounds like personal vendettas they have. Our former CEO stepped down in July,” Urban Prep Director of Studies Dennis Lacewell said.
The decision was also made due to what the board calls mismanagement of money.
“Taking out payday loans to make bills, asking for CPS advances to cover their expenses,” said Chicago Board of Education member Elizabeth Todd-Breland.
Urban Prep leaders say they have had financial difficulties, which began in 2015. That was when there was no state budget and there were fewer funding for schools.
“We didn’t fire teachers, we didn’t cut programming,” Lacewell said. “A number of smaller schools closed their schools during this time. Not Urban Prep, so we didn’t do anything illegal to make ends meet.”
He adds that they have met or exceeded most CPS financial standards recently.
Students will not be reassigned and both sites will be open, at least until next year.
Urban Prep plans to appeal the decision to the Illinois State Board of Education.