Families and advocates fighting the closing of National Teachers Academy elementary school are asking a Cook County judge to consider the latest round of school ratings as another reason why the majority African-American elementary school should stay open.

Chicago Public Schools officials plan to put a new high school into NTA’s South Loop building, starting with a freshman class in the fall. NTA’s youngest students will be moved to the nearby South Loop Elementary School, which is getting a new annex, a plan many NTA families have been fighting. 

CPS officials say they only close schools when its students are guaranteed a higher quality school to enroll in. They also typically only close schools for poor academic performance or low enrollment, making their plans for NTA unusual.

But in recently released school ratings from the 2017-18 school year South Loop’s rating dipped to Level 1, which still indicated good quality but is now lower than the Level 1+ rating NTA has maintained.

The families who filed suit asked Judge Franklin U. Valderrama to note this “newly available, relevant evidence in support of their claim that the school action at issue violates the requirement that displaced students have the opportunity to attend a higher-performing school,” according to a motion filed Wednesday evening.

CPS spokesman Michael Passman did not immediately respond Thursday to a request seeking comment but indicated last week when the ratings were announced that CPS did not plan to change its course based on the latest round.

The judge is expected to rule on whether the closure should be immediately halted on December 3.