The construction of the UNO Soccer Academy High School will continue and classes will begin in September, according to UNO officials.
The announcement was revealed earlier this week at a meeting held at 5050 S. Homan where dozens of anxious parents anticipated details of what they hoped would be a new school year.
Juan Rangel, CEO of United Neighborhood Organization, was present to welcome those parents who were left uncertain after construction was halted in April following the suspension of funding due to a violation in the terms of a $98 million state grant.
Last week, Governor Pat Quinn’s administration reinstated funding to the United Neighborhood Organization allowing the charter school network to expand and proceed with construction of the new soccer academy high school.
Located on the Southwest side of Chicago in the Gage Park neighborhood, the half-finished soccer academy already has 600 students enrolled and more on a waiting list.
According to UNO’s chief operating officer, Phil Mullins, enrollment will begin the first year with 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th, the following year will be 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th eliminating one grade each year until the Soccer Academy eventually reaches regular high school requirements of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th.
Two other UNO charter schools are set to open in the fall as well, Immaculate Conception and Rogers Park High School.
Rodolfo Benitez, a parent and activist agrees: “It is an honor that my children can attend this school and an honor that a community organization such as UNO is educating our children.”
Although excitement was unanimous, Laura Hernandez, whose daughter will also attend the Soccer Academy this fall, is concerned UNO’s recent financial troubles were not addressed properly with parents adding that she found out through a newspaper and sees the lack of communication as a potential problem in the future.
“I’m happy, but not with the management of school officials. We don’t know how they are going to open or what aspects they will improve upon. We have been in uncertainty, but who can guarantee that this will not happen again. It takes more transparency and honesty.”
As of now, there have been some changes in the academic calendar and the first school day has been pushed back to September 16th. A more formal schedule will be given in August at another parent meeting.