A ‘positive’ for Pingree: Could a charter school benefit Elgin, too? (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

This is the second in a two-part series on the first five years of the area’s one charter school — and the possibility of another.

PINGREE GROVE — By all accounts, the first year or two of Cambridge Lakes Charter School were, in Pingree Grove Village President Greg Marston’s words, “bumpy.”

There were claims of poor communication from parents and a change in administrators after only a few months of operation. Attempts to unionize by some teachers ended in court, while a lawsuit against the architect of several of the school’s academic buildings was filed by the charter holder last year.

“I think it had more to do with the fact the corporation, prior to running Cambridge Lakes, didn’t have any background in education. I think it took them a while to get up and running,” Marston said.

But, the village president added, “Definitely, I’ve heard great things about it now.”

Cambridge Lakes Charter School, now in its fifth year, has been a benefit to both the village of Pingree Grove and Community Unit School District 300, according to village and district officials.

Now Elgin officials are discussing whether a charter school wouldn’t be a benefit to the City in the Suburbs, too.

That was one of many ideas that emerged from strategic planning discussions last month about education as a “quality of life” issue, something that attracts families to a city, according to Elgin City Councilwoman Anna Moeller. Elgin’s public schools, part of School District U46, can be seen as a “barrier,” Moeller said.

“This is just a very early stage question about just education in general in U46,” she said.

“There are some strong opinions out there on both sides. I think people have kind of latched on to that concept (of charter schools). We’re not at that point yet where were hoping to recommend either way.”

For the rest of the story, read A ‘positive’ for Pingree: Could a charter school benefit Elgin, too? (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.

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