U-46 school board to meet today on charter school proposal
Elgin schools officials will conduct a special meeting Monday night on the Elgin Math and Science Academy charter school proposal.
It's unclear what will be discussed at the meeting as the group proposing the charter school is in negotiations with Elgin Area School District U-46 on a contract for the school to open in 2018, said Kerry Kelly, president of the Elgin Charter School Initiative.
In April, the U-46 school board gave conditional approval to allow the charter school provided both parties can agree on a contract by June 30. The school board's decision went against the recommendation of district administrators who urged denial due to flaws in the school's education and business plans, and for not adequately addressing the needs of at-risk populations.
School board members raised six key concerns they wanted addressed in the proposal: special education services and school budget, economic soundness, the proposed charter school facility, at-risk population, systems alignment, and student discipline.
"We've submitted a modified contract from what we had originally submitted in the proposal to kick off negotiations," Kelly said. "We've been waiting for the administration to get back to us on our proposal. We would like the district to give us their counter proposal before Monday."
Earlier this month, the Elgin charter school was approved for a $950,000 federal grant. The Charter Schools Program grant, awarded by the Illinois State Board of Education, will help cover startup costs and the implementation of an expeditionary learning model.
That funding and the school board's blessing of the final contract are crucial for the school's proposed opening in August 2018 with 200 students in kindergarten through third grade in year one. Another grade would be added each year, eventually offering classes through eighth grade.
The charter group is seeking to lease the closed Fox River Country Day School at 1600 Dundee Ave., from the city of Elgin for the proposed school. The group would have to borrow money to finance renovations and initial operations. The academy would cost U-46 roughly $2 million yearly.
Monday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. in U-46's Educational Services Center, Room 140, 355 E. Chicago St.