Governor Signs Charter School Quality Law

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Governor Quinn recently signed the Charter School Quality Law, Public Act 097-0152, effective immediately. Amending Section 27A of the School Code, this new Law creates the State Charter School Commission (“Commission”), an independent state agency with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority. The Commission now serves the main functions that the Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) previously served with relation to charter schools. Under the prior law, charter school applicants could appeal to ISBE if their applications were denied by the local school board. If ISBE reversed the local board’s decision, ISBE would become the authorizing charter entity for that charter school. Under the new law, the Commission would accept such appeals and, if it reverses a local board’s decision, would become the authorizing charter entity. The Commission would also serve as the authorizing charter entity for charter schools approved by referendum. A charter school approved by the Commission is considered its own school district, and will be paid directly any federal or State aid attributable to a student with a disability attending that school. ISBE retains the authority to certify any proposal approved by the Commission, and also retains rulemaking authority for the Commission. The law further authorizes ISBE to remove the power to authorize charter schools from any local school board or the Commission if it does not demonstrate a commitment to high-quality authorization practices. It also permits ISBE to revoke any chronically low-performing charters under that authorizer.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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