Chicago Public Schools lets down Hancock College Prep with new building

This is the statement I prepared for the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education meeting today:

This is the third time I stand before this governing body with the same request: Give Hancock College Prep the building our community deserves.

We did not choose the title of Selective Enrollment.  The title fell on us.  In our leaky, inadequate, building that’s cold in the winter and hot in the fall and spring, we made things work. 

Now in our fourth year with this elite title, we thrive in a rundown building.

We remain a neighborhood school.  Ninety percent of our students live in the surrounding zip codes.  Over 5,000 students applied for 200 seats this fall.

This is why the Hancock community deserves a better building than the one we’ve been promised.

Our new-building’s steering committee has been described as nice. And we are.  We’ve also been described as sophisticated.  And we are.

Our utmost guiding principle is that this new building add more to our school—and not take anything away from who we are.

We did the math.  Our students lose.  The designs don’t have enough classrooms.

We don’t have a space for all 1,000 students to gather for assemblies.

According to the Public Building Commission, because of the Midway Airport flight paths, the building can’t go higher than two floors.  Our current building has four floors.  I was kinda hopin’ for a rooftop garden.  Jones College Prep got one.

No space for a landscaped garden like Northside College Prep.

An athletic field like Payton?  Nope.

Dang, we can’t even get a parking lot like Whitney Young’s.

The Hancock community did not take part in the decision to buy the old lot on 64thand Long.  Therefore, the Hancock community should not accept this site as an adequate location for our building.

I’m the only one here. But I’m not the only one you will hear from if this project moves forward at this location.

I understand the budget for our building increased to $80 million. Hancock deserves at least that.

I’ve lived on the Southwest side my whole life.  I’ve been educated and miseducated in our district.

One thing I’ve learned is this: our city has money for what it wants.

So, today, the Hancock community needs all of you--as the governing body of our district--to want an adequate building for our Southwest side students.

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