PROCESS AND JURISDICTION
The Charter School Appeal Process is governed by the Illinois Charter Schools Law,
105 ILCS 5/27A
and the Illinois Administrative Code, Part 650. See
23 Ill. Admin. Code Part 650
. The following is the Commission’s non-regulatory guidance for filing an appeal.
An appeal to the Illinois State Charter Commission (SCSC) is a legal proceeding. Accordingly, it is recommended that applicants seek legal counsel in advance of filing an appeal.
The following are eligible to file an appeal of a local school district action:
- Charter school applicants whose proposal has been denied or not timely acted upon;
- An existing charter school whose charter was revoked prior to the end of the charter term; or
- An existing charter school whose charter has not been renewed at the close of the charter term.
APPEAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE
In order to be eligible for appeal consideration, the appellant must submit a complete appeal packet:
- (for new school applicants) within 30 days of the date that the school board voted to deny the application; OR the date by which the school board was to, but did not, hold a public meeting; OR the date by which the school board was to, but did not vote on the original charter application.
- (for existing schools) within 30 days of the date that the school board voted to revoke or non-renew the charter.
As required under
, the Commission has 75 days to consider and vote to grant or deny an appeal. The appeal evaluation process consists of the following, once an appeal is filed:
Joint Interview with both applicant and district, conducted by SCSC staff and expert evaluators
Public Hearing where community members voice opinions on the proposed charter school and district decision
Public Meeting where Commissioners vote to grant or deny the appeal
Site Visit to the current school or proposed facility by SCSC staff and expert evaluators
The Commission delegates the duty to review each appeal to its staff, using a multi-step process incorporating best practices in charter school evaluation. The Commission also retains a panel of experts to evaluate each appeal. This evaluation team uses the IL charter law and an evaluation framework to analyze the appeal documents and assess the capacity of the proposed charter school leadership team conveyed in the interview. At the conclusion of the evaluation process, Commission staff presents a report to the Commissioners, summarizing the findings and analysis of the evaluation team, and expressing a recommendation as to whether the Commission should grant or deny the appeal. Commissioners remain the final decision makers on each appeal.
AFTER THE VOTE
The Commission publishes its final written decision, which is provided to the parties and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). In the case of a denial for a new school, the charter school applicant may reapply to the local district. In the case of a new school approval, or the granting of an appeal for an existing school, the charter school and the Commission will meet regularly to negotiate, prepare and finalize the Charter Agreement. Special Note: the Commission’s decision is reviewable under the Administrative Review Law.
The Illinois Charter Schools Law requires that an approved charter school must enter into a binding contract which must be certified by ISBE. The Commission has a standard Charter Agreement, however, specific terms and conditions may be added based on specific requirements identified by the Commission, ISBE and/or the charter school. Schools are also required to submit a five-year financial schedule and a detailed special education plan.