Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB1679
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Full Text of SB1679  99th General Assembly


Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford

Filed: 4/24/2015





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 1679, AS AMENDED,
3by replacing everything after the enacting clause with the
5    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
6Course Access Act.
7    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
8    "Course provider" means an entity authorized by the State
9Board to offer individual courses in person, online, or a
10combination of the 2, including, but not limited to, online
11education providers, public or private elementary and
12secondary education institutions, education service agencies,
13not-for-profit providers, postsecondary education
14institutions, and vocational or technical course providers.
15    "Eligible funded student" means any eligible participating
16student who is currently enrolled in a public school or charter



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2    "Eligible participating student" means any student in
3kindergarten through grade 12 who resides in this State.
4    "Public school" means a public school or charter school.
5    "State Board" means the State Board of Education.
6    "State Course Access Catalog" means the website developed
7for the State Board of Education that provides a listing of all
8courses authorized and available to students in this State,
9detailed information about the courses to inform student
10enrollment decisions, and the ability for students to submit
11their course enrollments. The data in this Catalog shall be
12published online in an open format that may be retrieved,
13downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used web search
14applications. An open format shall be platform-independent,
15machine-readable, and made available to the public without
16restrictions that may impede the reuse of that information. The
17data in the Catalog shall be owned by the State Board.
18    "State Course Access Program" means the Program created
19under this Act.
20    Section 10. Enrollment. An eligible participating student
21may enroll in State Course Access Program courses.
22    An eligible funded student may enroll in State Course
23Access Program courses only if the courses the eligible funded
24student wants to enroll in are not offered at the eligible
25funded student's school.



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1    An eligible funded student may enroll in State Course
2Access Program courses that are funded by the Program up to the
3following levels, unless additional courses are approved by the
4school where they are enrolled:
5        (1) 2016-2017 school year: Students attending a public
6    school who choose to participate in the State Course Access
7    Program and entering the school year with credits equal to
8    the junior or senior level of high school may take up to 2
9    courses per semester.
10        (2) 2017-2018 school year: Students attending a public
11    school who choose to participate in the State Course Access
12    Program and entering the school year with credits equal to
13    the sophomore, junior, or senior level of high school may
14    take up to 2 courses per semester.
15        (3) 2018-2019 school year and all school years
16    thereafter: Students attending a public school who choose
17    to participate in the State Course Access Program and
18    entering grades 9 through 12 may take up to 2 courses per
19    semester.
20    The families of eligible funded students and other eligible
21participating students may pay to enroll in State Course Access
22Program courses above the levels specified under Section 50 of
23this Act.
24    Public and charter schools where eligible funded students
25are enrolled full time may review enrollment requests to ensure
26courses are academically appropriate, logistically feasible,



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1keep the student on track for an on-time graduation, and do not
2extend a student beyond a full-time course load. The public and
3charter schools may only reject enrollment requests for not
4doing so.
5    The public and charter schools must complete the review and
6denial process within 5 days of the student enrolling in the
8    Public and charter schools shall inform students and
9families at the time of denial of their right to appeal any
10enrollment denials in State Course Access Program courses to
11the school board, which shall provide a final enrollment
12decision within 7 calendar days.
13    Section 15. Provider authorization process. The State
14Board shall:
15        (1) Establish an authorization process for course
16    providers that may include multiple opportunities for
17    submission each year.
18        (2) Not later than 90 calendar days from the initial
19    submission date, authorize course providers that:
20            (A) meet the criteria established under Section 20
21        of this Act; and
22            (B) provide courses that offer the instructional
23        rigor and scope required under Section 25 of this Act.
24        (3) Not later than 90 calendar days from the initial
25    submission date, provide a written explanation to any



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1    course providers that are denied. If a course provider is
2    denied authorization, the provider may apply again in the
3    future. If a course provider is denied authorization 3
4    times, the provider will no longer be able to apply.
5        (4) Publish the process established under Section 20 of
6    this Act, including any deadlines and any guidelines
7    applicable to the submission and authorization process for
8    providers.
9    If the State Board determines that there are insufficient
10funds available for evaluating and authorizing course
11providers, it may charge applicant providers a fee up to, but
12no greater than, the amount of the costs in order to ensure
13that evaluation occurs. The State Board shall establish and
14publish a fee schedule for purposes of this Section.
15    Section 20. Course provider criteria. To be authorized to
16offer a course through the State Course Access Program, a
17provider must:
18        (1) Comply with all applicable anti-discrimination
19    provisions and applicable State and federal student data
20    privacy provisions, including, but not limited to, the
21    federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
22        (2) Provide an assurance that all online information
23    and resources for online or blended courses are fully
24    accessible for students of all abilities, including that:
25            (A) all of the courses submitted for approval are



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1        reviewed to ensure they meet legal accessibility
2        standards;
3            (B) the provider has created and promulgated an
4        Accessibility Online Public and Charter Schools
5        Policy;
6            (C) the provider has designated a Section 504
7        Coordinator and a Grievance Policy, and issued annual
8        notifications;
9            (D) the provider has policies and activities to
10        ensure their organizational and course websites meet
11        accessibility requirements; and
12            (E) the provider has no gateway exam or test where
13        a specific score is required to participate in the
14        Program courses beyond completion of prerequisite
15        coursework or demonstrated mastery of prerequisite
16        material.
17        (3) Demonstrate either:
18            (A) prior evidence of delivering quality outcomes
19        for students, as demonstrated by completion rates,
20        student level growth, proficiency, or other
21        quantifiable outcomes; or
22            (B) for course providers applying to offer a
23        subject or grade level for the first time, provide a
24        detailed justification, in a manner determined by the
25        State Board, of how their organization's subject
26        matter, instructional, and technical expertise will



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1        allow public and charter schools to produce successful
2        outcomes for students.
3        (4) Ensure instructional and curricular quality
4    through a detailed curriculum and student performance
5    accountability plan that aligns with and measures student
6    attainment of relevant State academic standards or other
7    relevant standards in courses without State academic
8    standards.
9        (5) Provide assurances that the course provider shall
10    provide electronically, in a manner and format determined
11    by the State Board, a detailed student record of
12    enrollment, performance, completion, and grading
13    information with the school systems where eligible
14    participating students are enrolled full time.
15    Additional criteria developed by the State Board shall be
16used to evaluate providers, and may include International
17Association for K-12 Online Learning, National Standards for
18Quality Online Teaching, National Standards for Quality Online
19Courses, Southern Regional Education Board, AdvancED, or other
20nationally recognized third party quality standards.
21    Section 25. Course quality reviews. The State Board shall
22establish a course review and approval process. The process may
23be implemented by the State Board or by an entity designated by
24the State Board.
25    In order to be approved and added to the State Course



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1Access Catalog, a course must:
2        (1) Be one of the following types:
3            (A) a course that satisfies high school graduation
4        requirements;
5            (B) a course identified by the State Board as
6        necessary for college-readiness;
7            (C) an Advanced Placement or International
8        Baccalaureate course;
9            (D) a music or arts course;
10            (E) a STEM course;
11            (F) a foreign language course;
12            (G) a dual credit course that allows students to
13        earn college credit or other advanced credit; or
14            (H) a vocational or technical course, including
15        apprenticeships and High School Career Exploration and
16        Readiness courses.
17        (2) Be, at a minimum, the equivalent in instructional
18    rigor and scope to a course that is provided in a
19    traditional classroom setting.
20        (3) Be aligned to relevant State academic standards or
21    industry standards.
22        (4) Possess an assessment component for determining
23    student proficiency and student growth where applicable.
24        (5) Be designed and implemented consistently with
25    criteria established by the International Association for
26    K-12 Online Learning (INACOL) National Standards for



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1    Quality Online Teaching and INACOL National Standards for
2    Quality Online Courses, the Southern Regional Education
3    Board, or AdvancED or with other nationally or
4    industry-recognized third party quality standards.
5        (6) Be taught by a teacher who holds a professional
6    educator license under Article 21B of the School Code.
7    A course provider other than the Illinois Virtual School
8may offer an online course only if the Illinois Virtual School
9decides to not offer the course via the State Course Access
11    Section 30. Provider and course monitoring and
12reauthorization. The initial authorization of the course
13provider and approved courses shall be for a period of 3 years.
14Providers must annually report, in such a manner as directed by
15the State Board:
16        (1) student enrollment data;
17        (2) student outcomes, growth measures when available,
18    proficiency rates, and completion rates for each subject
19    area and grade level; and
20        (3) student and parental feedback on overall
21    satisfaction and quality.
22    After the second year of the initial authorization period,
23the State Board shall conduct a thorough review of the course
24provider's activities and the academic performance of the
25students enrolled in courses offered by the course provider.



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1    If the performance of the students enrolled in courses
2offered by the course provider does not meet agreed-upon
3performance standards at any time, the course provider shall be
4placed on probation and shall be required to submit a plan for
5improvement. The State Board shall determine the terms of
6probation, including, but not limited to, the results the
7course provider must achieve to return to good standing. Course
8providers shall have a minimum of 60 days to achieve the
9results indicated in their terms of probation. The State Board
10shall, at its sole discretion, determine if the course provider
11has met the specified results required for the course provider
12to return to good standing. If a course provider fails to
13return to good standing within the timeframe cited in its terms
14of probation, the State Board may terminate its status as a
15course provider. Course providers terminated as a result of
16being put on probation may not reapply to become a course
17provider for 2 years from the time the State Board revoked its
19    After the initial 3-year authorization period, the State
20Board may reauthorize the course provider for additional
21periods of up to 5 years after thorough review of the course
22provider's activities and the achievement of students enrolled
23in courses offered by the course provider.
24     The State Board may exclude a course provided by an
25authorized provider at any time if the State Board determines



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1        (A) the course is no longer adequately aligned with the
2    State academic standards;
3        (B) the course no longer provides a detailed and
4    quality curriculum and accountability plan; or
5        (C) the course fails to deliver outcomes as measured by
6    course completion, proficiency, or student academic growth
7    on State or nationally accepted assessments.
8    Section 35. Interstate course reciprocity. The State Board
9may enter into a reciprocity agreement with other states for
10the purpose of authorizing and approving high quality providers
11and courses for the State Course Access Program and the
12operation of the State Course Access Catalog.
13    Section 40. Responsibilities of the State Board.
14    (a) The State Board shall:
15        (1) Publish the criteria required under Section 20 of
16    this Act for courses that may be offered through the State
17    Course Access Program.
18        (2) Be responsible for creating the State Course Access
19    Catalog.
20        (3) Publish a link to the Catalog in a prominent
21    location on the State Board's website, which includes a
22    listing of courses offered by authorized providers
23    available through the Program, a detailed description of
24    the courses, and any available student completion and



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1    outcome data.
2        (4) Establish and publish a timeframe or specific dates
3    by which students are able to withdraw from a course
4    provided through the Program without the student, public
5    and charter schools, or course provider incurring a
6    penalty.
7        (5) Maintain on its official website in a prominent
8    location an informed choice report. Each report under this
9    Section must:
10            (A) be updated within 30 calendar days of
11        additional provider authorizations;
12            (B) describe each course offered through the
13        Program and include information such as course
14        requirements and the school year calendar for the
15        course, including any options for continued
16        participation outside of the standard school year
17        calendar;
18            (C) include student and parental comments and
19        feedback as detailed under Section 35 of this Act; and
20            (D) be published online in an open format that can
21        be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by
22        commonly used web search applications. An open format
23        is one that is platform-independent, machine-readable,
24        and made available to the public without restrictions
25        that would impede the reuse of that information.
26    (b) The State Board shall submit an annual report on the



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1Program and the participation of entities to the Governor, the
2Chairperson and Minority Spokesperson of the Education
3Committee of the Senate, and the Chairperson and Minority
4Spokesperson of the Elementary and Secondary Education
5Committee of the House of Representatives. The report shall at
6a minimum include the following information:
7        (1) The annual number of students participating in
8    courses authorized under this Act and the total number of
9    courses students are enrolled in.
10        (2) The number of authorized providers.
11        (3) The number of authorized courses and the number of
12    students enrolled in each course.
13        (4) The number of courses available by subject.
14        (5) The number of students enrolled in courses by
15    subject.
16        (6) Student outcome data, including completion rates,
17    student learning gains, student performance on State or
18    nationally accepted assessments, by subject and grade
19    level by provider. This outcome data should be published in
20    a manner that protects student privacy.
21    The State Board shall note any data that are not yet
22available at the time of publication and when these data will
23become available and include these data in future reports.
24    The report and underlying data shall be published online in
25an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and
26searched by commonly used web search applications. An open



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1format is one that is platform-independent, machine-readable,
2and made available to the public without restrictions that
3would impede the reuse of that information.
4    Section 45. Responsibilities of the local school district.
5    (a) A public school shall:
6        (1) State, in writing to the State Board, whether it
7    wants to participate in the State Course Access Program
8    during the 2016-2017 school year.
9        (2) Provide information by letter or email to students
10    and parents at home and by at least 2 other means, such as
11    community flyers, newspaper postings, student report
12    cards, or other methods.
13        (3) Publish information and eligibility guidelines on
14    the school and school district's web sites.
15    (b) Each local school system shall establish policies and
16procedures whereby, for each eligible participating student,
17credits earned through the course provider shall appear on each
18student's official transcript and count fully toward the
19requirements of any approved Illinois diploma.
20    (c) The State Board shall adopt rules necessary to
21implement this Section, including, but not limited to, the
22requirements of school governing authorities or local school
23systems whose students enroll in courses offered by authorized
24course providers.
25    (d) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent a



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1school entity from establishing its own online course or
2program in accordance with this Act.
3    Section 50. Funding.
4    (a) Per-course tuition shall be determined as follows:
5        (1) The course provider shall receive per-course
6    tuition for each eligible funded student at a fair and
7    reasonable rate negotiated by the State Board and the
8    course provider that is inclusive of all required course
9    materials and transportation expenses. Course providers
10    are only responsible for providing transportation for
11    students who are enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch
12    program. Transfers of course payments shall be made by the
13    State Board on behalf of the responsible school district in
14    which the student resides to the authorized course
15    provider.
16        (2) The course provider shall receive payment from the
17    State Board only for the courses in which an eligible
18    funded student is enrolled. The remaining funds for each
19    student shall remain with the local school system in which
20    the student is enrolled full time.
21        (3) The course provider shall accept the amount
22    specified in this Section as total tuition and fees for the
23    eligible funded student.
24        (4) The course provider may charge tuition to any other
25    eligible participating student up to an amount determined



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1    by the course provider and State Board.
2    (b) Payment of tuition to course providers shall be based
3upon student success and made as follows:
4        (1) Fifty percent of the amount of tuition to be paid
5    or transferred to the course provider shall be transferred
6    upon student enrollment in a course, and 50% shall be
7    dependent upon student success in the course.
8        (2) Student success may, in the 2016-2017 school year,
9    be measured based on course completion, but the State Board
10    may create new measures of student success by the 2017-2018
11    school year for use in courses where externally validated
12    measures are available. These measures of student
13    outcomes, based on either proficiency or growth, shall
14    include results from independent end-of-course exams,
15    Advanced Placement exams, International Baccalaureate
16    exams, receipt of industry-recognized credentials, receipt
17    of credit from institutions of higher education, or other
18    externally validated measures.
19        (3) Partial payments for delayed completions shall be
20    determined as follows: If a student does not successfully
21    complete a course according to the published course length
22    in which the course provider has received the first payment
23    pursuant to this Section, the provider shall receive 75% of
24    the tuition that is dependent upon student success, as
25    defined in Section 30 of this Act, only if the student
26    completes and receives credit for the course within one



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1    additional semester.
2    Section 900. The School Code is amended by changing Section
327A-5 as follows:
4    (105 ILCS 5/27A-5)
5    Sec. 27A-5. Charter school; legal entity; requirements.
6    (a) A charter school shall be a public, nonsectarian,
7nonreligious, non-home based, and non-profit school. A charter
8school shall be organized and operated as a nonprofit
9corporation or other discrete, legal, nonprofit entity
10authorized under the laws of the State of Illinois.
11    (b) A charter school may be established under this Article
12by creating a new school or by converting an existing public
13school or attendance center to charter school status. Beginning
14on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd
15General Assembly, in all new applications to establish a
16charter school in a city having a population exceeding 500,000,
17operation of the charter school shall be limited to one campus.
18The changes made to this Section by this amendatory Act of the
1993rd General Assembly do not apply to charter schools existing
20or approved on or before the effective date of this amendatory
22    (b-5) In this subsection (b-5), "virtual-schooling" means
23a cyber school where students engage in online curriculum and
24instruction via the Internet and electronic communication with



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1their teachers at remote locations and with students
2participating at different times.
3    From April 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016, there is a
4moratorium on the establishment of charter schools with
5virtual-schooling components in school districts other than a
6school district organized under Article 34 of this Code. This
7moratorium does not apply to a charter school with
8virtual-schooling components existing or approved prior to
9April 1, 2013 or to the renewal of the charter of a charter
10school with virtual-schooling components already approved
11prior to April 1, 2013.
12    On or before March 1, 2014, the Commission shall submit to
13the General Assembly a report on the effect of
14virtual-schooling, including without limitation the effect on
15student performance, the costs associated with
16virtual-schooling, and issues with oversight. The report shall
17include policy recommendations for virtual-schooling.
18    (c) A charter school shall be administered and governed by
19its board of directors or other governing body in the manner
20provided in its charter. The governing body of a charter school
21shall be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open
22Meetings Act.
23    (d) A charter school shall comply with all applicable
24health and safety requirements applicable to public schools
25under the laws of the State of Illinois.
26    (e) Except as otherwise provided in the School Code, a



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1charter school shall not charge tuition; provided that a
2charter school may charge reasonable fees for textbooks,
3instructional materials, and student activities.
4    (f) A charter school shall be responsible for the
5management and operation of its fiscal affairs including, but
6not limited to, the preparation of its budget. An audit of each
7charter school's finances shall be conducted annually by an
8outside, independent contractor retained by the charter
9school. To ensure financial accountability for the use of
10public funds, on or before December 1 of every year of
11operation, each charter school shall submit to its authorizer
12and the State Board a copy of its audit and a copy of the Form
13990 the charter school filed that year with the federal
14Internal Revenue Service. In addition, if deemed necessary for
15proper financial oversight of the charter school, an authorizer
16may require quarterly financial statements from each charter
18    (g) A charter school shall comply with all provisions of
19this Article; the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act; all
20federal and State laws and rules applicable to public schools
21that pertain to special education and the instruction of
22English language learners, referred to in this Code as
23"children of limited English-speaking ability"; and its
24charter. A charter school is exempt from all other State laws
25and regulations in this Code governing public schools and local
26school board policies; however a charter school is not exempt



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1from , except the following:
2        (1) Sections 10-21.9 and 34-18.5 of this Code regarding
3    criminal history records checks and checks of the Statewide
4    Sex Offender Database and Statewide Murderer and Violent
5    Offender Against Youth Database of applicants for
6    employment;
7        (2) Sections 24-24 and 34-84A of this Code regarding
8    discipline of students;
9        (3) the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees
10    Tort Immunity Act;
11        (4) Section 108.75 of the General Not For Profit
12    Corporation Act of 1986 regarding indemnification of
13    officers, directors, employees, and agents;
14        (5) the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act;
15        (6) the Illinois School Student Records Act;
16        (7) Section 10-17a of this Code regarding school report
17    cards;
18        (8) the P-20 Longitudinal Education Data System Act;
19    and
20        (9) Section 27-23.7 of this Code regarding bullying
21    prevention; .
22        (10) (9) Section 2-3.162 2-3.160 of this the School
23    Code regarding student discipline reporting; and .
24        (11) The Course Access Act.
25    The change made by Public Act 96-104 to this subsection (g)
26is declaratory of existing law.



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1    (h) A charter school may negotiate and contract with a
2school district, the governing body of a State college or
3university or public community college, or any other public or
4for-profit or nonprofit private entity for: (i) the use of a
5school building and grounds or any other real property or
6facilities that the charter school desires to use or convert
7for use as a charter school site, (ii) the operation and
8maintenance thereof, and (iii) the provision of any service,
9activity, or undertaking that the charter school is required to
10perform in order to carry out the terms of its charter.
11However, a charter school that is established on or after the
12effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd General
13Assembly and that operates in a city having a population
14exceeding 500,000 may not contract with a for-profit entity to
15manage or operate the school during the period that commences
16on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd
17General Assembly and concludes at the end of the 2004-2005
18school year. Except as provided in subsection (i) of this
19Section, a school district may charge a charter school
20reasonable rent for the use of the district's buildings,
21grounds, and facilities. Any services for which a charter
22school contracts with a school district shall be provided by
23the district at cost. Any services for which a charter school
24contracts with a local school board or with the governing body
25of a State college or university or public community college
26shall be provided by the public entity at cost.



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1    (i) In no event shall a charter school that is established
2by converting an existing school or attendance center to
3charter school status be required to pay rent for space that is
4deemed available, as negotiated and provided in the charter
5agreement, in school district facilities. However, all other
6costs for the operation and maintenance of school district
7facilities that are used by the charter school shall be subject
8to negotiation between the charter school and the local school
9board and shall be set forth in the charter.
10    (j) A charter school may limit student enrollment by age or
11grade level.
12    (k) If the charter school is approved by the Commission,
13then the Commission charter school is its own local education
15(Source: P.A. 97-152, eff. 7-20-11; 97-154, eff. 1-1-12;
1697-813, eff. 7-13-12; 98-16, eff. 5-24-13; 98-639, eff. 6-9-14;
1798-669, eff. 6-26-14; 98-739, eff. 7-16-14; 98-783, eff.
181-1-15; 98-1059, eff. 8-26-14; 98-1102, eff. 8-26-14; revised
20    Section 999. Effective date. This Act takes effect January
211, 2016.".