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Proposed Audubon High School Could Have a Location Lined Up

By Samantha Abernethy | Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Audubon Elementary School Principal John Price speaks at the January 26 LSC meeting.

At the Local School Council meeting at Audubon Elementary Monday, Principal John Price said there is another proposed location for the Audubon Entrepreneurial Academy, but he said, “It is not perfect, and it’s not problem-free.”

He did not reveal the location, but said it would require students to be bussed to the new school.

“I beg your forgiveness, I don’t mean to be secretive, but the facilities conversation at CPS is a high-pressure conversation this time of year,” said Price.

The three aldermanic challengers also spoke at the LSC meeting and detailed their stance on the development of Audubon High School. Ald. Scott Waguespack did not attend, but sent a letter.

The proposed 500-student Audubon Entrepreneurial Academy—which would also be led by principal Price—would start in the fall with an inaugural ninth grade class and would specialize in autism inclusion programs. The Christopher L. and M. Susan Gust Foundation is making a sizable donation to assuage the new school’s capital costs.

But Price said they are looking for a smaller space than originally planned.

“Because of the late date, because we want to make sure that we are open to accepting a facility closer, we would start much smaller, initially,” said Price, “and if we find another facility, then we could grow back up to that 500 number where we would like to be.”

“We start smaller, so that our choices for relocation are larger,” he said.

In order to attract a freshman class for the school, a location needs to be secured by February 23, when students apply for fall enrollment.

Some oppose the creation of a new high school that overlays existing neighborhood high schools and competes for limited CPS funding.

Supporters originally wanted the school to be in unused space in the private, Catholic Gordon Tech High School, 3633 N. California Ave. Gordon Tech. The schools would share a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a library and science class spaces.

A map of the proposed Audubon Entrepreneurial Academy's coverage area. (click to enlarge)

CPS voted to approve the proposal, but that fell through.

But in November, the Congregation of the Resurrection, sponsors of Gordon Tech voted down the CPS proposal proposal. In fact, according to Gordon Tech’s principal, the proposal voted on by the CPS Board on October 27 never had a chance.

“All along there was no deal,” said Gordon Tech Principal Kelly Jones. “CPS jumped the gun and put a deal forward without getting approval [from Gordon Tech] for their proposal.”

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