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East Aurora, Naperville District 203 vote down virtual charter

Updated: May 18, 2013 6:46AM



Four more school boards unanimously voted down a proposed Fox Valley virtual charter school Monday night: those at East Aurora, Naperville 203, Plainfield and Burlington Central 301.

So far 16 of the 18 districts included in the proposal have unanimously denied the charter, including West Aurora, Indian Prairie District 204, Oswego, Kaneland and Yorkville. The last two school boards, at DeKalb and Valley View, are slated to vote this week.

The charter, which was proposed by the St. Charles-based nonprofit Virtual Learning Solutions, came under fire from school boards at hearings last month. Members said the charter would be charging too much tuition for students and taking away money from brick-and-mortar schools. School boards also questioned the reputation and academic performance of the for-profit education giant K12, which would provide the curriculum for the virtual charter school.

Virtual Learning Solutions has said it will appeal school board denials to the Illinois State Charter Commission, which reviews such appeals.

Legislation filed last week by state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), would block the establishment of the school, and others like it.

An amendment to House Bill 494 would place a one-year moratorium on all new full-time virtual learning schools outside Chicago, giving lawmakers time to study the issue.

The legislation would require the state charter commission to issue a report to the General Assembly by March 1, 2014, on the effects of virtual schools, including policy recommendations and data about student performance, virtual-schooling costs and oversight issues.

The legislation moved out of the House Rules Committee Tuesday and is awaiting a full House debate and vote.

Staff writer Emily McFarlan Miller contributed to this report.



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