CPS to build new high school in heart of Englewood

FOX 32 NEWS - One of Chicago’s poorest and most violent communities is getting a big, new investment from Chicago Public Schools.

CPS says it plans to build a brand new 75-million dollar high school in the heart of Englewood. But it means closing four existing high schools.

"This new state of the art high school will be the most significant investment CPS has made in Englewood in decades,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool.

It doesn't have a name, yet. but CPS and community leaders say this planned 75-million dollar high school -- scheduled to open in the fall of 2019 -- will give Englewood students the educational quality they deserve in their own backyard.

"There are thousands of children who live in this community who deserve a high quality high school, who deserve to be able to go to a school within their community and not travel four miles to get to a high quality school,” said Janice Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer.

The new high school would be built here at 68th and Normal, on the campus of the current Paul Robeson High School, which would then be torn down.

In addition to closing Robeson, CPS would also close Harper, Team Englewood and Hope high schools -- all of which have low enrollment.

The last time CPS closed schools it caused outrage among thousands of parents and students, but community leaders say this time they have worked to build support.

"I'd like the community to know that we met with every single local school council as well as every parent advisory council in the entire network,” said Dori Collins, Englewood Community Action Council.

The Chicago Teachers Union quickly released a statement blasting the proposal: "Consolidating four high schools into one building is the mayor doubling down on a disastrous and irresponsible gentrification scheme that has already removed scores of African-American residents from the city."

And some parents that FOX 32 talked to worry that mixing students from such a wide area is sure to incite gang violence.

But CPS security officials say plans are already in the works to protect students at the new school.

"We have already connected with the Chicago Police Department and they are aware, as well as other city agencies will be enlisted in this process,” said Jadine Chou, CPS Safety and Security Chief.

CPS says there will be a series of meetings and hearings to allow community input on the new school.

The new Englewood high school would be able to accommodate more than two-thousand students.

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