November 2006: Aspira gets an additional $5 million to open a new 'campus' in a rat-infested warehouse... Welcome to 'Rosa Parks High School'!

On November 15, 2006, the Chicago Board of Education voted, unanimously and without debate, to approve additional “campuses” for the Aspira Charter School.

According to Board Report 06-1115-EX3 (submitted by CEO Arne Duncan), “On September 5, 2006, ASPIRA, Inc. of Illinois submitted a Renaissance 2010 proposal to add two new campuses anticipated to open in the fall of 2008 and to increase its enrollment cap by 1,200 students to 2,700. The two new campuses will be located at 1856 North LeClaire, Chicago, Illinois 60639 and 4101 W. Ann Lurie, Chicago, Illinois 60632 and referred to respectively as ASPIRA Chater School — Rosa Parks Communications and Technology High School Campus and ASPIRA Charter School — ASPIRA Trade Technical Campus. Each campus is expected to open with approximately 300 students in grade 9 and 10 and at full capacity serve approximately 600 students in grades 9 - 12. The cost of 600 additional students in 2008-2009 will be approximately $5,400,000. These budget figures are based on the recvised per pupil funding amounts released on October 12, 2006. ASPIRA will operate a total of five caqmpuses in 2008-2009 and their enrollment cap for all five campuses will be 2,700 students..” No proof was offered that the Aspira charters had succeeded.

Chicago’s charter schools are presently borrowing millions of dollars to embark on an ambitious expansion program. While questions continue to arise about virtually every aspect of the charter schools and about every marketing claim made on their behalf, the Chicago Board of Education and Chicago’s mayor back the charter school program uncritically.

The question isn’t whether, but when Chicago’s charter schools will be noted alongside “Hired Truck” for scandal. When that day arrives, the origins of Rosa Parks High will be noted. 


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