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Local News

Algonquin-based District 300 to review Cambridge Lakes Charter School at special meeting

HAMPSHIRE – Algonquin-based Community Unit School District 300 will host a special board meeting Thursday to review the progress of Cambridge Lakes Charter School after a number of concerns were laid out at the end of last year. Superintendent Fred Heid in December outlined several issues surrounding the charter school, 900 Wester Blvd. in Pingree Grove, from its contract with Illinois Central College to its kindergarten readiness camp.

Other issues were found regarding its English Language Learners program, special education, preschool and finance, and vaccinations, according to an email from District 300 Director of Public Relations and Communications Anthony McGinn.

The concerns stem from complaints such as parents being “coached” to modify their student’s individual education plan in order to attend the charter school; a response-to-intervention process inconsistent with district and state requirements; among others, Heid has said.

He also has said the charter school maintains a level of autonomy, but is considered to be a District 300 school and certain noncompliance could expose the district to potential penalties.

The special board meeting, starting at 7 p.m. at Hampshire High School, will provide an opportunity for representatives of the charter school to make a presentation and to field questions afterward, McGinn said.

“The district maintains that the charter school should continue to serve our community,” he wrote. “This meeting does not focus on revocation or nonrenewal. However, the concerns previously outlined may prevent a successful application for renewal.”

The board is not slated to decide whether the charter school will be renewed or not, but it will determine a date for the school to submit the renewal application. Cambridge Lakes Charter School, run by Northern Kane Educational Corp., began in 2007 and now serves between 850 and 900 students in kindergarten to eighth grade, along with a high school component.

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