By Terry Dean
The private entity that runs the Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy has decided not to renew its contract to oversee the 5-year-old high school.
That means, as of June, the academy will no longer be independently run and become a part of the Chicago Public Schools system.
CPS officials and those from American Quality Schools, which oversees ABEA as well as elementary schools in Chicago and other states, met with parents and ABEA staff at a meeting Wednesday night. A packed audience filled the auditorium of the Austin High School campus at 231 N. Pine.
Contrary to a story by the Chicago Tribune last week reporting that the high school was closing in June, officials at last night’s meeting insisted that ABEA would remain open but will now become a CPS-operated school.
Parents at Wednesday night’s meeting expressed concerns about the future of the school and its teachers.
CPS official Robert Runcie said teachers would have to reapply to work at the school now that it’s under CPS. Runcie explained that certain qualifications and certifications are required for teachers to work under CPS.
Still, many parents felt that if their teachers were qualified to work at ABEA then they should be qualified to work with CPS and should be automatically retained in the “new” ABEA.
Runcie told parents that CPS would try to hire as many of the current teachers as possible but could not guarantee how many or who they would be.