A new law in Illinois requires lotteries in the student selection process.
CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation to improve fairness and accountability in the student selection process, governance and funding of charter schools throughout Illinois.
According to a press release from Quinn’s office, the legislation sets new standards of transparency for charter schools, which receive public funds but operate independently.
“Every child deserves access to a good school,” Quinn said. “With this new law, the public will now have more information and more say in how charter schools operate and spend public funds.”
House Bill 3232 helps to improve transparency and accountability in Illinois’ charter schools. Under the new law, when more students apply to a charter school than the school has available spots, a lottery will be held to select which students may enroll. The new law requires the lottery process to be videotaped and made publicly available. It also requires the local governing body, usually the school district, to be involved in the process to strengthen accountability. Charter schools must also now submit quarterly financial statements and their waiting lists of students hoping to enroll.
The bill also requires that a governing board, independent of the organization that manages the school, be established to oversee each charter school. This provision is intended to prevent any potential conflicts of interest in the operation of the charter school. The law also includes new protections of public funds, including the return of any unspent funds and remaining property to the local school district or the State Board of Education if a charter school closes. In addition, charter and traditional schools must now include a disclaimer when public funds are used for marketing purposes. The new law is effective for the 2015-2016 school year.