Cary D-26 Denies Charter School Proposal
The district administration cited many criteria failures in Vision Group's application.
The Cary School District 26 Board of Education voted unanimously to deny the charter school proposal submitted by the nonprofit, Vision group.
Superintendent Brian Coleman presented the administrative findings, which included 13 requirements that Vision Group did not meet. Fiscally sound, enrollment, admissions, school governance, goals and community support, were among the non-complaint items that fail to comply with the Illinois charter schools law.
Over a 5-year term, Coleman said the charter school proposal would cause the district to lose an estimated $12 million.
“Based on purely looking at the proposal, there was no documentation or evidence of support from stakeholders, parents, teachers, pupils, or community members,” Coleman said.
“There was no research or survey information anywhere indicating that the community was interested or had a need for the charter school.”
Coleman said majority of the public who spoke at the hearing were not interested in the charter school and insisted on the board to deny the application.
“Some of the public did voice that they were open to charter schools but they were not in favor of this particular charter school.”
Bruce Ritter, who was in attendance at the charter school public hearing, said he attended the meeting with a open mind and was hoping for an opportunity to get his kids into a school and a program that had small class sizes and with hopes to getting “specials” back.
The Vision Group was “willfully unprepared,” said Ritter. “If we were to have a charter, this is not the group we would want to have in our community."
Board secretary Chris Jenner would like to see a way a charter school would work in Cary. “I think one problem that we had here is that there was no expectation of what would work for us,” said Jenner at the Monday night regular board meeting.
Jenner, who has been vocal about a RFP [Request for Proposal] process for charter schools, said define and document what factors would make a charter school work in Cary. “To me, it has to improve the academics and it has to save us money,” Jenner said.
The board did reach consensus on developing a RFP process for future charter school application processes.
Since the board has denied Vision Group’s proposal, the group is able to appeal the decision with the State Charter School Commission.
Charter School Timeline Proposal
|Board holds a public meeting to obtain information in its decision to grant or deny proposal||Within 45 Days of receipt of proposal||Public hearing held Feb. 21, 2012|
|Board publishes notice of public meeting in community newspaper and school district||Not more than (10) nor less than (5) days before the meeting||Noticed published in local newspapers|
|Board posts copies of the notice at the location of proposed charter school, all district schools and district office||Not more than (10) nor less than (5) days before the meeting||Copies posted to all buildings on Feb. 15, 2012|
|Board votes at a public meeting to either grant or deny charter school proposal||Within (30) days of the public meeting||Board voted 0-7 to deny charter school proposal on March 19|
|Board will file a report with the State Board of Education granting or denying propsoal||Within (7) days of meeting where Board took action on charter proposal|
|If Board denies the proposal, applicant can appeal to the State Charter School Commission
||Within (30) days of Board's denial vote
The commision can affirm or reverse the board's decision and a party may appeal a decision of commission in court under the Administrative Review Law.