(105 ILCS 5/27A-8)
    Sec. 27A-8. Evaluation of charter proposals.
    (a) This Section does not apply to a charter school established by referendum under Section 27A-6.5. In evaluating any charter school proposal submitted to it, the local school board and the Commission shall give preference to proposals that:
        (1) demonstrate a high level of local pupil,
    
parental, community, business, and school personnel support;
        (2) set rigorous levels of expected pupil achievement
    
and demonstrate feasible plans for attaining those levels of achievement; and
        (3) are designed to enroll and serve a substantial
    
proportion of at-risk children; provided that nothing in the Charter Schools Law shall be construed as intended to limit the establishment of charter schools to those that serve a substantial portion of at-risk children or to in any manner restrict, limit, or discourage the establishment of charter schools that enroll and serve other pupil populations under a nonexclusive, nondiscriminatory admissions policy.
    (b) In the case of a proposal to establish a charter school by converting an existing public school or attendance center to charter school status, evidence that the proposed formation of the charter school has received majority support from certified teachers and from parents and guardians in the school or attendance center affected by the proposed charter, and, if applicable, from a local school council, shall be demonstrated by a petition in support of the charter school signed by certified teachers and a petition in support of the charter school signed by parents and guardians and, if applicable, by a vote of the local school council held at a public meeting. In the case of all other proposals to establish a charter school, evidence of sufficient support to fill the number of pupil seats set forth in the proposal may be demonstrated by a petition in support of the charter school signed by parents and guardians of students eligible to attend the charter school. In all cases, the individuals, organizations, or entities who initiate the proposal to establish a charter school may elect, in lieu of including any petition referred to in this subsection as a part of the proposal submitted to the local school board, to demonstrate that the charter school has received the support referred to in this subsection by other evidence and information presented at the public meeting that the local school board is required to convene under this Section.
    (c) Within 45 days of receipt of a charter school proposal, the local school board shall convene a public meeting to obtain information to assist the board in its decision to grant or deny the charter school proposal. A local school board may develop its own process for receiving charter school proposals on an annual basis that follows the same timeframes as set forth in this Article. Only after the local school board process is followed may a charter school applicant appeal to the Commission.
    (d) Notice of the public meeting required by this Section shall be published in a community newspaper published in the school district in which the proposed charter is located and, if there is no such newspaper, then in a newspaper published in the county and having circulation in the school district. The notices shall be published not more than 10 days nor less than 5 days before the meeting and shall state that information regarding a charter school proposal will be heard at the meeting. Copies of the notice shall also be posted at appropriate locations in the school or attendance center proposed to be established as a charter school, the public schools in the school district, and the local school board office. If 45 days pass without the local school board holding a public meeting, then the charter applicant may submit the proposal to the Commission, where it must be addressed in accordance with the provisions set forth in subsection (g) of this Section.
    (e) Within 30 days of the public meeting, the local school board shall vote, in a public meeting, to either grant or deny the charter school proposal. If the local school board has not voted in a public meeting within 30 days after the public meeting, then the charter applicant may submit the proposal to the Commission, where it must be addressed in accordance with the provisions set forth in subsection (g) of this Section.
    (f) Within 7 days of the public meeting required under subsection (e) of this Section, the local school board shall file a report with the State Board granting or denying the proposal. If the local school board has approved the proposal, within 30 days of receipt of the local school board's report, the State Board shall determine whether the approved charter proposal is consistent with the provisions of this Article and, if the approved proposal complies, certify the proposal pursuant to Section 27A-6.
    (g) If the local school board votes to deny the proposal, then the charter school applicant has 30 days from the date of that vote to submit an appeal to the Commission. In such instances or in those instances referenced in subsections (d) and (e) of this Section, the Commission shall follow the same process and be subject to the same timelines for review as the local school board.
    (h) The Commission may reverse a local school board's decision to deny a charter school proposal if the Commission finds that the proposal (i) is in compliance with this Article and (ii) is in the best interests of the students the charter school is designed to serve. Final decisions of the Commission are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review Law.
    (i) In the case of a charter school proposed to be jointly authorized by 2 or more school districts, the local school boards may unanimously deny the charter school proposal with a statement that the local school boards are not opposed to the charter school, but that they yield to the Commission in light of the complexities of joint administration.
(Source: P.A. 96-105, eff. 7-30-09; 96-734, eff. 8-25-09; 96-1000, eff. 7-2-10; 97-152, eff. 7-20-11.)