New charter school opening delayed amid Alderman's concerns

September 6, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Angry parents say their children's education is being delayed and they're blaming 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. Their school was supposed to be opened weeks ago but this is what it looks like.

"They're just leaving us out and putting us on the street," said 9th grader Mia Wilson. "That's one thing that they don't want but how can you push it back when we're on the street right now?"

The dispute is all over this partially empty school building on the 7000 block of S. Stony Island Ave.

It was going to be one of two Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy alternative schools for students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.

Academy Alderman Hairston, who was at City Hall for a meeting during the protest, says most of her constituents didn't want the school to be located here and the proper permits were not obtained.

"Because of the traffic, the number of social service areas concentrated in one particular area and the neighbors opposed it," Hairston said. "I have never said that education is not important, I've never said that we don't have needs for such programs."

Chicago Public School officials decided to move the school to the Roseland area, but that will delay the opening to the second week of October. It's also far for students from the South Shore neighborhood.

Friday morning Pastor Jedidiah Brown from the Chosen Generation Church says he's working out an agreement with the alderman to bring another alternative school to the neighborhood.

"We haven't had the meeting yet, but we are doing is getting ready to sit down and have conversations, and have talks, to get an alternative high school," he said.

Students now, with the help of community leaders, are hoping to get a new alternative school in a different in the South Shore neighborhood, but that doesn't change the fact that student's aren't in school right now, and their education has been delayed.

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