(105 ILCS 5/27A-7.5)
State Charter School Commission; abolition and transfer to State Board.
(a) A State Charter School Commission is established as an independent commission with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority. The Commission shall be under the State Board for administrative purposes only.
(a-5) The State Board shall provide administrative support to the Commission as needed.
(b) The Commission is responsible for authorizing high-quality charter schools throughout this State, particularly schools designed to expand opportunities for at-risk students, consistent with the purposes of this Article.
(c) The Commission shall consist of 9 members, appointed by the State Board. The State Board shall make these appointments from a slate of candidates proposed by the Governor, within 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly with respect to the initial Commission members. In making the appointments, the State Board shall ensure statewide geographic diversity among Commission members. The Governor shall propose a slate of candidates to the State Board within 60 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly and 60 days prior to the expiration of the term of a member thereafter. If the Governor fails to timely propose a slate of candidates according to the provisions of this subsection (c), then the State Board may appoint the member or members of the Commission.
(d) Members appointed to the Commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance, management and finance, public school leadership, higher education, assessments, curriculum and instruction, and public education law. All members of the Commission shall have demonstrated understanding of and a commitment to public education, including without limitation charter schooling. At least 3 members must have past experience with urban charter schools.
(e) To establish staggered terms of office, the initial term of office for 3 Commission members shall be 4 years and thereafter shall be 4 years; the initial term of office for another 3 members shall be 3 years and thereafter shall be 4 years; and the initial term of office for the remaining 3 members shall be 2 years and thereafter shall be 4 years. The initial appointments must be made no later than October 1, 2011.
(f) Whenever a vacancy on the Commission exists, the State Board shall appoint a member for the remaining portion of the term.
(g) Subject to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Commission is authorized to receive and expend gifts, grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private entity to carry out the purposes of this Article, subject to the terms and conditions under which they are given, provided that all such terms and conditions are permissible under law. Funds received under this subsection (g) must be deposited into the State Charter School Commission Fund.
The State Charter School Commission Fund is created as a special fund in the State treasury. Until July 1, 2020, all money in the Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the State Board, acting on behalf and with the consent of the Commission, for operational and administrative costs of the Commission. Beginning on July 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020, all money in the Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the State Board for operational and administrative costs. On September 1, 2020, or as soon thereafter as practicable, in consultation with the State Board, the State Comptroller shall order transferred and the State Treasurer shall transfer all money in the State Charter School Commission Fund to the State Board of Education Special Purpose Trust Fund.
Subject to appropriation, any funds appropriated for use by the State Board, acting on behalf and with the consent of the Commission, may be used for the following purposes, without limitation: personal services, contractual services, and other operational and administrative costs. The State Board is further authorized to make expenditures with respect to any other amounts deposited in accordance with law into the State Charter School Commission Fund.
(g-5) Funds or spending authority for the operation and administrative costs of the Commission shall be appropriated to the State Board in a separate line item. The State Superintendent of Education may not reduce or modify the budget of the Commission or use funds appropriated to the Commission without the approval of the Commission.
(h) The Commission shall operate with dedicated resources and staff qualified to execute the day-to-day responsibilities of charter school authorizing in accordance with this Article. The Commission may employ and fix the compensation of such employees and technical assistants as it deems necessary to carry out its powers and duties under this Article, without regard to the requirements of any civil service or personnel statute; and may establish and administer standards of classification of all such persons with respect to their compensation, duties, performance, and tenure and enter into contracts of employment with such persons for such periods and on such terms as the Commission deems desirable.
(j) Until July 1, 2020, the Commission may charge a charter school that it authorizes a fee, not to exceed 3% of the revenue provided to the school, to cover the cost of undertaking the ongoing administrative responsibilities of the eligible chartering authority with respect to the school. This fee must be deposited into the State Charter School Commission Fund.
Beginning on July 1, 2020, the State Board of Education may charge a charter school that it authorizes a fee not to exceed 3% of the revenue provided to the school to be used exclusively for covering the cost of authorizing activities. Authorizing activities may include, but are not limited to: (i) soliciting, reviewing, and taking action on charter school proposals; (ii) hiring, training, and supervising staff engaged in authorizing activities; (iii) developing and conducting oversight, including regular monitoring, of authorized charter schools; (iv) reporting on best practices and performances of charter schools; (v) applying for, managing, and distributing grants and funds appropriated for charter schools and authorizing activities; (vi) training members of the State Board on their authorizing roles; and (vii) training other employees of the State Board on how to work with charter schools as their own local education agencies.
(k) On July 1, 2020, the State Charter School Commission is abolished and the terms of all members end. On that date, all of the powers, duties, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and pending business of the Commission are transferred to the State Board. For purposes of the Successor Agency Act and Section 9b of the State Finance Act, the State Board is declared to be the successor agency of the Commission. Beginning on July 1, 2020, references in statutes, rules, forms, and other documents to the Commission shall, in appropriate contexts, be deemed to refer to the State Board. Standards and procedures of the Commission in effect on July 1, 2020 shall be deemed standards and procedures of the State Board and shall remain in effect until amended or repealed by the State Board.
Beginning on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, the Commission may not enter into or renew a contract, other than a charter renewal, that expires after July 1, 2020.
On July 1, 2020, any charter school authorized by the State Charter School Commission prior to July 1, 2020 shall have its authorization transferred to the State Board, which shall then become the school's authorizer for all purposes under this Article. On July 1, 2020, all of the powers, duties, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and pending business of the State Charter School Commission as the school's authorizer must be transferred to the State Board. At the end of its charter term, a charter school may reapply to the board or boards for authorization.
On July 1, 2020, all rules of the State Board applicable to matters falling within the responsibility of the State Charter School Commission shall be applicable to the actions of the State Board.
(l) In any appeal filed with the Commission under this Article, both the applicant and the school district in which the charter school plans to locate shall have the right to request a hearing before the Commission. If more than one entity requests a hearing, then the Commission may hold only one hearing, wherein the applicant and the school district shall have an equal opportunity to present their respective positions.
(Source: P.A. 101-543, eff. 8-23-19.)