Charter schools

The IL State Charter Commission is not good for Public Schools. Support HB768

Illinois plans to open at least 48 new charters (half in Chicago!) with an initial federal grant to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) of $42.3 million. This grant does not include funding for the operational budget for these schools, so dollars will be diverted from the same inadequate pot used to fund our existing schools.

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Additional federal grants were made to the Noble Network and the Lawndale Educational and Regional Network (LEARN). The Noble grant alone is for $8.4 million; LEARN will receive $6.5 million. Think what kind of classroom resources that could buy your local school.

Democracy has taken a back seat as privatization takes over our public schools. What can parents and concerned citizens do?

Action steps

  1. Ask your state representative to support HB768 – a bill that weakens the state charter commission. This commission can approve charters that local school boards reject. The commission has approved four schools, and three out of four of those schools are now under federal investigation or have been asked to close by a judge. Schools under the commission get higher per-pupil funding and have no oversight from the local district whose funds they are using. A similar bill HB397 passed in the IL House during the 99th General Assembly, but stalled in the Senate.

  2. Ask your state rep and senator to write a letter to ISBE opposing their decision to expand charters unilaterally without input. Explain to your reps that this federal grant does NOT include funding for school budgets, so money for these new schools will come out of the already inadequate existing pool of money to fund all of our schools.

  3. Call your US Rep and US Senators and say you don’t want your taxes going to fund more charter schools. There’s no evidence that charters outperform district schools.

  4. Talk to parents and LSC members at your school about the need to speak up for funding for your district schools. Make a video like this school, Darwin, did. Educate parent groups on policies impacting whole system.