Parents worry new CPS high school on Near South Side will drain resources from others

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Parents worry new South Side high school will drain resources from others
Chicago Public Schools hopes to build a brand new high school at 24th and South State Street but parents are worried it will siphon resources from historically Black schools nearby

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The parcel of land at 24th and South State Street has been the subject of controversy for months, as Chicago Public Schools hopes to build a brand new high school there, not too far from historically Black schools like Phillips and Dunbar.

"I feel like the investment should go to those schools and build those schools up and make those schools what they are looking for," said parent Earlene Braggs.

READ MORE: CPS pulls proposal for new $120M Near South Side high school for now

Braggs is the mother of four CPS elementary students, and fears a new South Side school will take enrollment away from neighboring Black high schools, draining resources from schools that continue to struggle.

"Philips is a big high school and only 50% is being used," she said. "If you have that much room in that school for our neighborhood and community children, why build another one?"

CPS wants to build the new school to fill a need for South Loop, Bridgeport and Chinatown communities, which all have growing populations,

"We've always wanted a school close by, especially for the newest immigrants who need specialized bilingual services," said David Wu of Pui Tak Center.

Chinatown advocates have been pushing for a new high school for decades. Wu said his organization has offered CPS different options for sites. If the school board approves the land purchase at 24th and State location, Wu said CPS must not forget schools like Phillips and Dunbar.

"We don't want it to damage another school, so CPS should find a way to strengthen their schools and programs," he said.

The State Street location is owned by the Chicago Housing Authority, the site has also drawn criticism from housing advocates who said the land should be used to fulfill a CHA promise to build more affordable housing.

The Chicago Teachers Union shares the concerns with parents and housing advocates, but has stopped short of asking CPS not to build a new high school.