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Rockford schools OK second charter

Tuesday, February 24, 2009  
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By Cathy Bayer

Posted Feb 24, 2009 @ 09:28 PM

ROCKFORD — Chicago International Charter School proponents were clearly excited after six Rockford School Board members voted Tuesday to approve the city’s second charter school.

Enthusiastic handshakes were exchanged with charter school supporters and officials from CICS and Zion Development Corp. after the vote. The pair co-authored the proposal.

“The School Board just handed over a tremendous amount of responsibility,” said Brad Roos, executive director of Zion. “We appreciate the trust and thorough analysis the board has given.”

Board member Bob Evans abstained from the vote because of a conflict of interest. Evans is a Rockford College employee, and CICS has plans to contract some services with the college.

“We are incredibly excited,” CICS Executive Director Beth Purvis said after the meeting.

She expressed her respect for the School Board in its process of vetting the proposal.

“This is a great beginning to our partnership with the district,” she said. “I hope this is the first step in many collaborative decisions.”

Some community members admitted to being surprised by the decision toward the end of the two-hour meeting.

“You’re always surprised, you never know for sure,” said Patricia Gomez, the executive director of La Voz Latina. “It’s been a shining hour for the board,” she said.

Now she hopes the community continues its support for other charter school proposals. The School Board is still considering a proposal from Galapagos Charter School.

“I think they heard what the public is looking for,” said Jaime Salgado, a candidate for Subdistrict F on the board. “They gave them what they wanted.”

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