A proposal to convert National Teachers Academy in the South Loop into a high school is meeting with stiff opposition, as parents and activists are pushing back against a new Chicago Public Schools plan.
The plan, which would shutter NTA and convert it into a new high school servicing the Bridgeport, Chinatown, and Bronzeville Neighborhoods, came about as a result of a surge in development in the area, but parents argue that the school’s status as a top-achieving academic institution should save it from closure.
The elementary school is National Teacher’s Academy in the South Loop. Parents are hoping for an equitable solution. Amidst a surge of development, CPS has proposed closing the school and converting it into a high school.
“Take that money, and instead of wasting it on converting a building that’s already doing amazing things, invest in these other schools that are completely underutilized and make them attractive,” NTA parent Elisabeth Greer told NBC 5. “This is a home for so many children.”
If CPS, who did not respond to NBC 5’s requests for comment, goes forward with the plan, a new elementary school would replace NTA in the South Loop in 2019. In the interim, school boundaries would be redrawn, moving most of the current NTA students out of the territory of the new elementary school.
Audrey Johnson, the parent of two NTA students that have already had to change schools because of school closures, is opposed to the proposal.
“That took a lot out of the kids,” she said. “We spent an entire year struggling with that, watching the buildings come down, and now we’re fighting the same battle.”
Two more public meetings are scheduled for later this month to discuss the proposal.