(105 ILCS 5/27A-7.5)
State Charter School Commission.
(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. 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.
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.
(i) Every 2 years, the Commission shall provide to the State Board and local school boards a report on best practices in charter school authorizing, including without limitation evaluating applications, oversight of charters, and renewal of charter schools.
(j) 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.
(k) Any charter school authorized by the State Board prior to this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly shall have its authorization transferred to the Commission upon a vote of the State Board, which shall then become the school's authorizer for all purposes under this Article. However, in no case shall such transfer take place later than July 1, 2012. At this time, all of the powers, duties, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and pending business of the State Board as the school's authorizer must be transferred to the Commission. Any charter school authorized by a local school board or boards may seek transfer of authorization to the Commission during its current term only with the approval of the local school board or boards. At the end of its charter term, a charter school authorized by a local school board or boards must reapply to the board or boards before it may apply for authorization to the Commission under the terms of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly.
On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, all rules of the State Board applicable to matters falling within the responsibility of the Commission shall be applicable to the actions of the Commission. The Commission shall thereafter have the authority to propose to the State Board modifications to all rules applicable to matters falling within the responsibility of the Commission. The State Board shall retain rulemaking authority for the Commission, but shall work jointly with the Commission on any proposed modifications. Upon recommendation of proposed rule modifications by the Commission and pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, the State Board shall consider such changes within the intent of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly and grant any and all changes consistent with that intent.
(l) The Commission shall have the responsibility to consider appeals under this Article immediately upon appointment of the initial members of the Commission under subsection (c) of this Section. Appeals pending at the time of initial appointment shall be determined by the Commission; the Commission may extend the time for review as necessary for thorough review, but in no case shall the extension exceed the time that would have been available had the appeal been submitted to the Commission on the date of appointment of its initial members. 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. 97-152, eff. 7-20-11; 97-641, eff. 12-19-11; 97-1156, eff. 1-25-13.)