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August 3, 1999

Ryan Signs Legislation To Strengthen Charter School Laws

PALATINE -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation that remedies several problems with current law regarding the finances and accountability of charter schools in Illinois.

About 8,000 Illinois children attend charter schools, which are public schools chartered and operated by parents and outside organizations. The schools curricula are centered on unique programs such as college preparation, technology, the arts or environmental studies. A charter school can be designed to help students who have been identified as at-risk for dropping out of school.

"These schools can provide a tuition-free education on par with private and parochial schools and give parents another avenue in educating their children," Ryan said. "The bills I have signed today will assist the charter schools in getting off the ground and being financially stable."

Senate Bill 648 amends the Charter School Law to separate local financing of charter schools from state financing of charter schools.

The current law allows the opportunity for charter schools to be developed and then open in the fall without a required lead-in period for local school districts. In some cases, the timing of charter schools has created a problem for school districts because budgets for the coming year are already set.

House Bill 230 amends the School Code to allow, outside the City of Chicago, a local board of education or an intergovernmental agreement between boards of education to establish a charter school, with no more than one such charter school at one time in a district. This bill should increase the number of charter schools established in Illinois.

Senate Bill 648 was sponsored by Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, Republican Leader Lee Daniels, Sen. Patrick O'Malley (R-Palos Park), Sen. Wendell Jones (R-Palatine), Rep. Carolyn Krause (R-Mt. Prospect), Rep. Douglas Hoeft (R-Elgin) and Rep. Andrea Moore (R-Libertyville).

House Bill 230 was sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bassi (R-Palatine), Sen. O'Malley, Rep. Krause, Rep. Rep. Douglas Hoeft, Rep, Andrea Moore, Rep. Patricia Bellocks (R-Westmont), Rep. Tim Osmond (R-Antioch), Rep. Anne Zickus (R-Palos Hills), Rep. Lauren Beth Gash (D-Deerfield) and Rep. Mike Boland (D-East Moline).


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