Push for new West Side high school

May 14, 2008 3:11:37 PM PDT
A group of residents from Chicago's Austin community took their fight for a new high school to City Hall Wednesday.

The group Austin Community Education Network wants a school built at the former site of the Brach's candy company on the West Side.

But Alderman Ed Smith wants to use more than $10 million in TIF funds to develop a distribution center there. He says the center will bring more jobs to the community. But some Austin residents argue a school would be more valuable.

'"Based upon the idea that is on the table for the use of the Brach's site, it cannot compare with the vision that this community has, which is to educate thousands of our children," said Virgil Crawford, Austin Community Education Network.

"I am committed to a school in Austin, but I'm committed to a school and building this distribution center because it gets rid of a building that's horrible and it brings in credible jobs," said Ald. Ed Smith, 28th Ward.

Mike Vaughn with Chicago Public Schools has said there are plans to build two new high schools on the West Side.