Elgin charter school moves one step closer to reality
Two months after a contentious 6-1 vote by the School District U-46 board to conditionally approve a new charter school in Elgin, some board members continue to push to finalize the Elgin Math and Science Academy project, while others remain less enthusiastic.
“It is students who should be funded, not systems,” board member Jeanette Ward told the DuPage Policy Journal, explaining that the charter school will not cost the district more on a per-pupil basis.
“Consider that at a March 20 meeting, the U-46 board approved a boiler/HVAC proposal which cost $2.6 million for one of our middle schools,” Ward said, citing a total budget of around $500 million. “If we really want students to not be trapped within schools tied to their ZIP code, then this is a step in the right direction."
Ward also said the school could be “a hand up for students trapped in poverty.”
“I support school choice,” she said.
For the charter school to become reality, contract negotiations needed to be wrapped up by the end of June, according to the Elgin Courier-News. Current issues involve building location, curriculum and the handling of special education.
In a Courier-News article in March, Kerry Kelly, president of the Elgin Charter School Initiative, described the process of interacting with stakeholders in the community.
"We've had really good feedback from the community and good feedback from the school board," Kelly said.
The new charter school has received a federal grant of $950,000, but some board members have balked at spending an estimated $2 million on the charter school. One board member, Traci O'Neal Ellis, told the Courier-News that her vote on the conditional approval does not mean she will necessarily vote ‘yes’ on the final contract. In the same newspaper reports, Ellis specifically cited potential challenges serving at-risk students.