U-46 Skeptical of Plans for a Charter School

Article excerpt

Byline: Tara Malone Daily Herald Staff Writer

Elgin Area School District U-46's board fired questions at architects of the district's first charter school proposal Monday night, airing financial concerns.

The Chicagoland Science, Art & Language Institute - potentially the first charter focusing on at-risk kids based in Chicago's suburbs - would serve 900 U-46 students who "just aren't getting it in a traditional classroom," according to school co-founder Gail Worrell.

Though board members applauded the charter's academic mission, they questioned its feasibility.

"For us to grant you the charter, we need to have confidence that you'll move forward, as a school and a business," said board member David Mathews.

Based on the state's per-pupil reimbursement rate of $7,294 along with grant funding, charter co-author Calvin Gooch said the school could become a reality - soon.

"Open the door, then measure our results. We're not asking for any more than that," said Gooch, principal of Elgin's Sheridan Elementary School.

As a "public school of choice," the U-46 charter would fill its classrooms on a first come-first serve basis, but its target market would be preschool through eighth-graders testing at or below the 50 percent mark on state assessment tests. …