Governor Quinn Signs Bill to Expand Charter Schools in Illinois

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 30, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a law that doubles the number of charter schools allowed in Illinois from 60 schools to 120 schools. The law increases the number of single-campus charter schools allowed in Chicago from 30 to 70 and in the rest of the state from 30 to 45 schools, and adds five additional charter schools in Chicago devoted exclusively for high school dropouts.

“This legislation aligns with the President’s vision to increase the amount of charter schools we can have in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “We want to give our children every opportunity to succeed. In Illinois, it’s everyone in, no one left out.”

Senate Bill 612, sponsored by Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester) and Representative Jerry Mitchell (R-Forsyth), was passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.

The law also requires existing charter schools to have at least 75 percent of all teachers certified under the School Code by the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. Any new charters must have 75 percent of all educators certified by the beginning of their fourth year of operation.

The law also establishes the Independent Charter School Authorizer Task Force to study the viability of an independent charter school authorizing organization and increases academic and financial accountability of charter schools.

The Governor also signed SB 1828, SB 2119 and SB 1796 at today’s event. SB 1828 and SB 2119 strengthen our position to compete for federal recovery dollars from the Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant program. SB 1796 establishes the Illinois Hope and Opportunities Pathways through Education (IHOPE) to create a system to re-enroll high school dropouts.

Governor Quinn was joined at the bill signing by Senator Lightford, Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), Representative Monique D. Davis (D- Chicago), Representative Mitchell, Alain Locke Charter Academy Principal Lennie Jones, Alain Locke Charter Academy Board Chairman Pat Ryan Jr., Civic Committee President Eden Martin and Advance Illinois Executive Director Robin Steans.