Chicago Board of Education votes unanimously to take over Urban Prep's Bronzeville, Englewood campuses

The Chicago Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to take over two campuses of the charter school, Urban Prep.

The district cited financial mismanagement and sexual misconduct allegations against the charter's founder and former CEO, as well as other issues.

"I don’t think Urban Prep should be taken over like that," said Senior Levi Turner. He says the value at Urban Prep exceeds the classroom, especially when alumni return showing their success.

"They come back in suits, just to show us a better image that we can be better than just the hood," said Turner, who attends the Englewood campus.


Some students and parents are concerned that a CPS takeover will change the city's only all-male charter schools, which now boast a near 100% college acceptance rate.

The board cited allegations of sexual misconduct against the charter’s founder and former CEO Tim King.

"This seems like personal vendettas that they have. Our former CEO resigned in July," said Urban Prep’s Chief Academic Officer Dennis Lacewell.

The decision was also made due to what the board calls mismanagement of money.

"Taking out payday loans to make bills, asking for advances from CPS to cover their expenses," said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a member of the Chicago Board of Education.

Urban Prep leaders say they've had some financial struggles, which started back in 2015. That’s when there was no state budget and there was less school funding.

"We did not fire teachers, we did not cut programming," said Lacewell. "A number of small schools did away with their schools during that time. Not Urban Prep, So, we did not do anything illegal to make ends meet."

He adds they met or exceeded most of CPS’s financial standards recently.

Students will not be reassigned, and both locations will be open, at least through next year.

Urban Prep plans to appeal the decision with the Illinois State Board of Education.