Chicago Public Schools board votes to revoking Urban Prep charter schools' licenses

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022
CPS board votes to revoke Urban Prep charter schools' licenses
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The Chicago Public School Board has revoked the charter school licenses for both Englewood and Bronzeville Urban Prep Academies.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Despite pleas from students, teachers and administrators of Urban Prep Academies, the Chicago Board of Education voted to revoke their charters Wednesday.

As Chicago's only all-male charter school operated by Black educators, Urban Prep's academic successes has been celebrated nationwide.

Yet behind the scenes, Chicago Public Schools says Urban Prep has been grossly mismanaged for years. CPS says it's time for the district to take over.

"It is not based on campus level performance, instead it's based on seamless and unacceptable operational issues," said Alfonso Carmona, CPS Chief Portfolio Officer.

In addition, CPS says Urban Prep leadership has refused to sever ties with Urban Prep Founder and former CEO Tim King. The CPS Inspector General found substantiated allegations that King sexually abused a 16-year-old male student.

SEE ALSO | Urban Prep Academy administrator resigns after misconduct investigation

"We cannot compromise," CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said. "We need ethical behavior and we to make sure we are protecting our children."

Urban Prep students, parents and staff pleaded with the school board to renew the charter for both the Bronzville and Englewood campuses, citing its much lauded 100% college acceptance rate and the success shaping young Black men.

"I've always felt like the adults in the building genuinely are about my wellbeing," student Avery Barnes said. "Urban Prep also teaches young men about brotherhood."

The district doesn't dispute Urban Prep's academic model, instead it has laid out a well-documented case of financial mismanagement - something current Urban Prep leadership claims are old and resolved.

"Urban Prep has adhered to every mandated requirement legally set by CPS," said Troy Boyd Jr., Urban Prep's Chief Financial Officer. "There are no financial management, student safety or ethical issues taking place at Urban Prep."

But, CPS says that is untrue. For years, it gave Urban Prep numerous occasions to comply and the charter organization failed to do so. Without the charter, CPS promises to keep the Urban Prep model going at least through the next school year.

"I want to assure you we're going to continue the programs," Martinez said. "We are going to continue to make sure that children on our schools education is not interrupted."