Charter Facts

IL STATE CHARTER COMMISSION

The Illinois State Charter Commission serves as a reasonable, common-sense check on school districts - helping keep politics out of the charter school approval process. The Commission - founded in 2011 - creates a process for charter schools to appeal decisions of their local school board to a neutral, objective arbiter. Opponents of the commission have tried to say that the commission has undermined local control. This is not true.

Here are the Facts:

  • Since 2011, just 13.2 percent of appeals have been granted statewide, and local decisions have remained intact following 86.8 percent of appeals filed. Of 53 appeals filed statewide, 7 have been granted, 5 five have been denied, and 41 have been withdrawn.
  • In Chicago, CPS’ local decisions have remained intact following two-thirds of appeals filed. Of 15 appeals within CPS’ jurisdiction, 5 have been granted, 2 two have been denied, and 8 have been withdrawn.
  • Special interests want to abolish the Commission because it eliminates an opportunity for charter school proposals to get a fair opportunity. Without the Commission, local school boards could reject charter applications for no reason – without any appeals process.
  • Without a Commission, the Chicago Teachers Union – which has long backed an elected school board and is calling for a moratorium on charter schools – would increase its influence over matters concerning charter public schools.

If the Commission is abolished, an anti-charter school board could take the following actions, with no check on their authority:

  • Without the Commission, a school board could close a school and force families to find a new school for their children.
  • Without the Commission, a school board could impose onerous requirements into a charter renewal to make it impossible for the school to operate.
  • Without the Commission, a school board could refuse to authorize the renewal of a high performing school, effectively closing the school without any sort of appeal.