General Assembly Calls For More Studies On Charter Schools

At the close of the last legislative session, the General Assembly passed two legislative actions calling for the development of new studies on charter schools.  House Joint Resolution 36 creates a targeted six-month task force to examine charter public school funding and provide recommendations to the Governor, State School Superintendent and legislative leaders by January 15, 2014.  The task force is particularly charged with:

  1. Compiling a comparative analysis of charter school funding practices across the United States;
  2. Examining current funding provisions in the Charter Schools Law for the purpose of ensuring funding equity; and 
  3. Reviewing the effects of state-authorized charter schools on the students served by the charter, the students in the home school district, and the home school districts budget. 

The Governor also recently signed into law Public Act 098-0016 requiring the Illinois State Charter School Commission to study the effects of virtual-schooling.  P.A. 098-0016 requires the Commission to submit to the General Assembly by March 1, 2014 a report on the effect of virtual-schooling, including its effect on student performance, costs associated with virtual-schooling and issues with oversight, along with policy recommendations for virtual-schooling.  The law also places a one-year moratorium on the establishment of charter schools with virtual charter school components.  The moratorium lasts through April 1, 2014, and does not apply to any charter schools with existing virtual charter schooling components or any schools approved prior to April 1, 2013.  The passage of this new law was a reaction to an appeal regarding a virtual charter school proposal to 18 Illinois school districts.  After the passage of the moratorium, the virtual charter school applicant withdrew its application.