Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stop Virtual Charter Schools for a Year/Support HB0494

“Please join the parents and educators from across the region in contacting the Illinois Senate President and your state senator, asking for their SUPPORT of HB 494 for the following reasons:
  • Virtual/online charter schools were not in existence at the time the current law was created.
  • The current funding formula for charters is not applicable, since virtual/online charter schools do not require brick-and-mortar buildings, transportation, food services, security, etc.
  • Research is inconclusive as to the effectiveness of these schools…”
from D300 Supt. Michael Bregy Off to Springfield to StopVirtual Charter Schools for a Year

Click on the "ed reform" tab (above posts) for more information about charter schools.

Bill Status of HB0494

Education Hearing Apr 30 2013 1:00PM Capitol 400 Springfield, IL
Last Action

Assigned to Education

Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance

from Ch. 122, par. 32-1.3

Synopsis as Introduced
Amends the School Code. Makes a technical change in a Section concerning special charter districts.

House Floor Amendment No. 2
Deletes reference to:
105 ILCS 5/32-1.3
Adds reference to:
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Charter Schools Law of the School Code. Provides that, from April 1, 2013 through April 1, 2014, there is a moratorium on the establishment of charter schools with virtual-schooling components in school districts other than the Chicago school district. Provides that this moratorium does not apply to a charter school with virtual-schooling components existing or approved prior to April 1, 2013 or to the renewal of the charter of a charter school with virtual-schooling components already approved prior to April 1, 2013. Provides that on or before March 1, 2014, the State Charter School Commission shall submit to the General Assembly a report on the effect of virtual-schooling; sets forth what the report must include. Effective immediately.
Dear Senator Connelly,
Please support HB 494, which is the Virtual Charter School Moratorium.
As you’re aware, the District 203 Board of Education, along with seventeen other districts, voted overwhelmingly against granting a charter to Virtual Learning Systems (VLS), which is associated with for-profit K12 Inc. There is good reason the application was denied. According to District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy, “Our Board strongly opposed this proposal from VLS because of its severe flaws and deficiencies, such as the lack of support for students with special needs and absence of extra-curricular opportunities.”
Multiple studies have verified that students who attend full-time virtual charter schools fall behind their peers enrolled in regular brick-and-mortar schools. For example, a Western Michigan University study found:
· Only 27.7% of K12 Virtual Charter Schools make Adequate Yearly Progress versus 52% of other schools.
· Reading scores for K12 students (grades 3 – 11) are 2 – 17 percentage points behind; math scores lag by 14 – 36 points.
· K12 students have a 49.1% on-time graduation rate opposed to a national average of 79.4%
Additionally, it’s alarming that VLS would charge District 203 approximately $8,000 per pupil.
VLS would have no costs for transportation, maintenance, security, food services, etc. Instead, VLS (and K12) would use part of their budget for advertising, recruiting, paying dividends to investors, and paying outrageously high salaries to executives. This inefficient use of taxpayer money would shortchange our students.
We need to take more time to become informed of all the issues surrounding virtual charter schools so we are sure to provide the highest quality education to our state’s children. Please vote YES on HB 494. (I was happy to see that Representative Senger helped pass HB 494 through the House by voting “YES.”) Thanks for your time and consideration.
Dave Madsen
IEA Region 39 GPA

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