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In Illinois, any school district that has a certified contract with a charter school is considered an authorizer. As a charter authorizer, school districts can approve or deny the application for a new charter school or the renewal of an existing charter school, in accordance with Section 27A of the Illinois School Code. 

The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled criteria for each Illinois charter school authorizer based on Section 27A  of the Illinois School Code and Section 650 of the Administrative Code.  These Principles and Standards for Authorizing Charter Schools are aligned with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and lie at the heart of the authorizing endeavor.  All authorizers should be guided by and fulfill these principles in all aspects of their work. 

  • Annual RFP – Annually releases request for new charter school proposals
  • Application Criteria – Clearly lays out expectations of application criteria
  • Application Timeline – Establishes timeline and resources in application
  • Interview – Official interview process of design team prior to charter school approval
  • Expert Panel – Recruits external experts to review charter school application
  • Contract – Engages the charter school in a contract that allows the school to operate during an agreed amount of time.  Contracts can be revoked and/or renewed based on performance, financial stability, etc.
  • 5 Year Term Length – Contracts signed with new charter schools are for five years until first renewal
  • Financial Audit – Annually examines state of charter school financials
  • Renewal Criteria – Has clearly established charter renewal criteria for charter school renewal
  • Revocation Criteria – Establishes revocation criteria if a charter school needs to be closed
  • Biennial Report – Provides ISBE with Authorizer Report every other year
  • Staff – Allocates dedicated staff that works exclusively with charter schools
  • Strategic Vision – Publishes strategic vision for district and quality charter school authorization
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