Cook County judge rules CPS cannot close Urban Prep Academy campuses

Urban Prep students will be back to school in August

Evelyn Holmes Image
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Cook County judge rules CPS cannot close Urban Prep Academy campuses
A Cook County judge ruled Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, cannot close Urban Prep Academy's campuses in Bronzeville and Englewood.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Urban Prep students Latrell Scott and Joshua Smith are classmates once again. A judge ruled that Chicago Public Schools cannot close the South Side campuses.

The all-male mostly African American charter high school has been the focus of a scandal involving the school's handling of money and alleged sexual misconduct.

"I was worried; I was worried. I thought I wouldn't have my friends, and I wouldn't have my brothers. I would have been nerve-wrecked," Scott said.

On Monday, a Cook County judge ordered CPS to allow Urban Prep to continue operating both its Englewood and Bronzeville campuses.

"We're just ecstatic about this victory and ready to move forward with educating our kids and doing the work that we've been doing for the last two decades," Urban Prep Academies CEO Troy Boyd said.

Attorneys for CPS filed notice to appeal the decision.

SEE MORE: Judge grants Urban Prep Academies a temporary restraining order against CPS

The court said CPS violated Chicago's moratorium on school closings, which expires in January 2025.

CPS officials have said they were not closing any schools, rather removing Urban Prep's charter and transferring control of the schools to CPS.

In her ruling, Judge Anna Loftus wrote "...that impact concerns the health and welfare of the Urban Prep students and community members ...the disruption caused by the failure to open the schools...may result in the loss of some students who never return to high school. ..."

"Keeping this institution in place for the 18th year, the longest-standing non-selective-enrollment high school in Englewood here, is great news," said Dennis Lacewell, Urban Prep Academies' chief academic officer.

Urban Prep has been consistently recognized for sending 100% of its students to college.

"We learn a lot. We get to see Black male role models, and we don't often get to see that," Smith said.

Enrollment has been as high as 1,500 students.

Classes at Urban Prep start again in August.