Educators on virtual charter schools: hold off a year
By Tara Garcia Mathewson
Several suburban superintendents have taken time away from end-of-year activities in their districts in recent weeks to travel to Springfield. They are pushing for a one-year moratorium on the establishment of any new virtual charter schools.
State Rep. Linda Chapa La Via of Aurora proposed the moratorium in March as an amendment to the charter school code. It would halt progress on new virtual schools until April 1 of next year and require the State Charter School Commission to prepare a report for state legislators about student performance in virtual schools, costs associated with them and issues of oversight.
“What we’d like to do is slow the process down,” Chapa La Via said. “It’s gone too fast.”
The charter proposal that prompted the call for a moratorium is for the Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley, which would give students in kindergarten through 12th grade the option of learning from home.
Chapa La Via said the moratorium would put a hold on review of the proposed school, which was rejected last month by all 18 school districts it encompassed from Algonquin roughly along the Fox River to Plainfield. Charter applicants from the fledgling nonprofit Virtual Learning Solutions are expected to file their appeal with the state charter commission this week. That commission has the power to uphold or reverse the decision of the local school boards and, minus the moratorium, would make its decision by August.
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