IL. State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-16), Sen. Donne Trotter (D-17) and Rep. Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago) of the 31st district met Friday with Chicago Public School CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett to discuss bringing two of Simeon Career Academy’s cut programs back.
“We made our position known that we wanted to retain the program and they said they needed more time,” said Collins.
The school surprised many when school officials announced that the electricity and automotive technology programs would no longer be offered in the fall. The principal said that not enough incoming freshmen indicated that they were interested in taking the class. Only 18 of the 370 incoming freshmen expressed interest in the Electricity program as their top program, CPS spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said.
This news was problematic for many youth supporters and elected officials, including the instructor, Latisa Kindred, who had taught the electricity class for seven years.
When the information first went public, Collins immediately released a statement expressing her “disappointment.” She said that youth need “hope for the future” and that vocational programs provide them with that. Simeon’s electrical program was the last one offered in any CPS.
Collins said that no resolution came from Friday’s meeting and that the school indicated it needed to have an internal discussion.
“They said they would get back to us,” said Collins, who added she wants this resolved within a week because school will start soon.
Simeon held a public meeting Thursday to discuss why the two programs were cut, but according to one attendee, nothing good came out of it.