§ 27A-4. General provisions.
(a) The General Assembly does not intend to alter or amend the provisions of any court-ordered desegregation plan in effect for any school district. A charter school shall be subject to all federal and State laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, or need for special education services.
(b) The total number of charter schools operating under this Article at any one time shall not exceed 120. Not more than 70 charter schools shall operate at any one time in any city having a population exceeding 500,000, with at least 5 charter schools devoted exclusively to students from low-performing or overcrowded schools operating at any one time in that city; and not more than 45 charter schools shall operate at any one time in the remainder of the State, with not more than one charter school that has been initiated by a board of education, or by an intergovernmental agreement between or among boards of education, operating at any one time in the school district where the charter school is located. In addition to these charter schools, up to but no more than 5 charter schools devoted exclusively to re-enrolled high school dropouts and/or students 16 or 15 years old at risk of dropping out may operate at any one time in any city having a population exceeding 500,000. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in subsection (b) of Section 27A-5 of this Code, each such dropout charter may operate up to 15 campuses within the city. Any of these dropout charters may have a maximum of 1,875 enrollment seats, any one of the campuses of the dropout charter may have a maximum of 165 enrollment seats, and each campus of the dropout charter must be operated, through a contract or payroll, by the same legal entity as that for which the charter is approved and certified.
For purposes of implementing this Section, the State Board shall assign a number to each charter submission it receives under Section 27A-6 for its review and certification, based on the chronological order in which the submission is received by it. The State Board shall promptly notify local school boards when the maximum numbers of certified charter schools authorized to operate have been reached.
(c) No charter shall be granted under this Article that would convert any existing private, parochial, or non-public school to a charter school.
(d) Enrollment in a charter school shall be open to any pupil who resides within the geographic boundaries of the area served by the local school board, provided that the board of education in a city having a population exceeding 500,000 may designate attendance boundaries for no more than one-third of the charter schools permitted in the city if the board of education determines that attendance boundaries are needed to relieve overcrowding or to better serve low-income and at-risk students. Students residing within an attendance boundary may be given priority for enrollment, but must not be required to attend the charter school.
(e) Nothing in this Article shall prevent 2 or more local school boards from jointly issuing a charter to a single shared charter school, provided that all of the provisions of this Article are met as to those local school boards.
(f) No local school board shall require any employee of the school district to be employed in a charter school.
(g) No local school board shall require any pupil residing within the geographic boundary of its district to enroll in a charter school.
(h) If there are more eligible applicants for enrollment in a charter school than there are spaces available, successful applicants shall be selected by lottery. However, priority shall be given to siblings of pupils enrolled in the charter school and to pupils who were enrolled in the charter school the previous school year, unless expelled for cause, and priority may be given to pupils residing within the charter school's attendance boundary, if a boundary has been designated by the board of education in a city having a population exceeding 500,000.
Beginning with student enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year, any lottery required under this subsection (h) must be administered and videotaped by the charter school. The authorizer or its designee must be allowed to be present or view the lottery in real time. The charter school must maintain a videotaped record of the lottery, including a time/date stamp. The charter school shall transmit copies of the videotape and all records relating to the lottery to the authorizer on or before September 1 of each year.
Subject to the requirements for priority applicant groups set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection (h), any lottery required under this subsection (h) must be administered in a way that provides each student an equal chance at admission. If an authorizer makes a determination that a charter school's lottery is in violation of this subsection (h), it may administer the lottery directly. After a lottery, each student randomly selected for admission to the charter school must be notified. Charter schools may not create an admissions process subsequent to a lottery that may operate as a barrier to registration or enrollment.
Charter schools may undertake additional intake activities, including without limitation student essays, school-parent compacts, or open houses, but in no event may a charter school require participation in these activities as a condition of enrollment. A charter school must submit an updated waitlist to the authorizer on a quarterly basis. A waitlist must be submitted to the authorizer at the same time as quarterly financial statements, if quarterly financial statements are required by the authorizer.
Dual enrollment at both a charter school and a public school or non-public school shall not be allowed. A pupil who is suspended or expelled from a charter school shall be deemed to be suspended or expelled from the public schools of the school district in which the pupil resides. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this subsection (h):
(1) any charter school with a mission exclusive to educating high school dropouts may grant priority admission to students who are high school dropouts and/or students 16 or 15 years old at risk of dropping out and any charter school with a mission exclusive to educating students from low-performing or overcrowded schools may restrict admission to students who are from low-performing or overcrowded schools; “priority admission” for charter schools exclusively devoted to re-enrolled dropouts or students at risk of dropping out means a minimum of 90% of students enrolled shall be high school dropouts; and
(2) any charter school located in a school district that contains all or part of a federal military base may set aside up to 33% of its current charter enrollment to students with parents assigned to the federal military base, with the remaining 67% subject to the general enrollment and lottery requirements of subsection (d) of this Section and this subsection (h); if a student with a parent assigned to the federal military base withdraws from the charter school during the course of a school year for reasons other than grade promotion, those students with parents assigned to the federal military base shall have preference in filling the vacancy.
(j) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a school district in a city having a population exceeding 500,000 shall not have a duty to collectively bargain with an exclusive representative of its employees over decisions to grant or deny a charter school proposal under Section 27A-8 of this Code, decisions to renew or revoke a charter under Section 27A-9 of this Code, and the impact of these decisions, provided that nothing in this Section shall have the effect of negating, abrogating, replacing, reducing, diminishing, or limiting in any way employee rights, guarantees, or privileges granted in Sections 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14, and 15 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. 1
(k) In this Section:
“Low-performing school” means a public school in a school district organized under Article 34 of this Code that enrolls students in any of grades kindergarten through 8 and that is ranked within the lowest 10% of schools in that district in terms of the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the assessments required under Section 2-3.64a-5 of this Code.
“Overcrowded school” means a public school in a school district organized under Article 34 of this Code that (i) enrolls students in any of grades kindergarten through 8, (ii) has a percentage of low-income students of 70% or more, as identified in the most recently available School Report Card published by the State Board of Education, and (iii) is determined by the Chicago Board of Education to be in the most severely overcrowded 5% of schools in the district. On or before November 1 of each year, the Chicago Board of Education shall file a report with the State Board of Education on which schools in the district meet the definition of “overcrowded school”. “Students at risk of dropping out” means students 16 or 15 years old in a public school in a district organized under Article 34 of this Code that enrolls students in any grades 9-12 who have been absent at least 90 school attendance days of the previous 180 school attendance days.
(l) For advertisements created after January 1, 2015 (the effective date of Public Act 98-783), any advertisement, including a radio, television, print, Internet, social media, or billboard advertisement, purchased by a school district or public school, including a charter school, with public funds must include a disclaimer stating that the advertisement was paid for using public funds.
This disclaimer requirement does not extend to materials created by the charter school, including, but not limited to, a school website, informational pamphlets or leaflets, or clothing with affixed school logos.
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