Dan Lipinski  and Sharon Brannigan
Date: Thursday, October 16, 7pm
Where: Moraine Valley Community College
             9000 W College Pkwy, Palos Hills
              Fogelson Theater Building T
Contact Jean at jeanklotter@outlook.com if you would like to carpool

LWVLGA October Meeting: Immigration
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 7-9PM
Where: LaGrange Park Public Library

LWVLGA November Meeting: Charter Schools
Date: Wednesday, November 19th, 7-9PM
Where: LaGrange Public Library

 The public is invited to the
Dan Lipinski/Sharon Brannigan
7 pm
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The Fogelson Theater Building T 
The Center for Contemporary Technology
Moraine Valley Community College
9000 W College Parkway
Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College
La Grange League of Women Voters
Palos/Orland Area League of Women Voters

October Meeting: IMMIGRATION



Speaker: Craig Mousin, University Ombudsperson at DePaul University

Please join us for what will be a fascinating discussion on immigration issues led by a very experienced speaker. Mr. Mousin has practiced both labor and immigration law. He received his law degree at the University of Illinois and his Master of Divinity at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He was the director of the Church/State Studies Department at DePaul University. He co-founded DePaul's Asylum and Refugee Legal Clinic. His expertise on immigration issues goes back over 30 years.

 The League of Women Voters of the LaGrange Area is honored to welcome him. You do not want to miss the opportunity to learn more about this very important and timely issue. Hope to see you there!



 Do you support charter schools?  While there are only a few now in the suburbs of Cook County, in Chicago they are a major force in education.  The League of Women Voters of Illinois is reviewing our current position on charter schools to see if it is correct for today's environment.  We will be asked to vote on a new position in January of 2015.   To prepare for this, the LaGrange Area League has formed a study group on charter schools.    

At the last LWVIL Convention in 2013 the convention delegates voted to update the LWVIL Charter School position. On Wednesday, November 19 at the La Grange Library, the La Grange Area League will have a membership meeting to review and discuss the information compiled by the LWVVIL Charter School Study Committee. This will be preparation for a later consensus meeting on the questions from LWVIL. Since the LWVIL Committee has compiled lots of information you might want to check out some of the information prior to the November meeting. You can find articles and a video of a panel discussion at: http://www.lwvil.org/charter-schools.html


And to get you started thinking about all the issues with charter schools you will find the current LWVIL position on Charter Schools as well as the  nine Consensus Questions included in this newsletter. Any questions contact Kathi Graffam at graff5@aol.com


Current Position:

LWVIL Where We Stand 2013-15 Program

Charter Schools - adopted in 2001

LWVIL Position:

The League of Women Voters of Illinois believes that:      

  • The Illinois State Board of Education should continue to monitor the progress of existing charters before supporting expansion, specifically looking for improvement in individual student test scores and achievement of the specific goals stated in the school's charter.
  • Charters should be established by local school boards, with adequate provisions for public education and participation in the decision making process.
  • An appeal process to the State Board of Education should remain in place as an option for charters who have been denied by their local school boards.


While we feel that advantages of charters largely outweigh the disadvantages, we have identified the following areas of concern:

  • School funding. Charters do nothing to address the issue of equitable and adequate funding of education, including special education.
  • Financial impact on underlying school districts, especially smaller districts. Charters place financial pressure on smaller districts by drawing money out of the traditional public schools.
  • Privatization and profit-making. The LWVIL opposes the presence of private, for-profit companies in the governance of public education, as there could be a conflict between the interests of shareholders in the corporation and the citizens of the state.


LWVIL has also identified areas of opportunity resulting from charter schools:

  • Innovation. Charters have a mandate to share innovations in teaching methods, curricula and standards of assessment for all stakeholders.
  • Increased parental choice and involvement within the public school system.



For every part of each of the following 9 questions our League will be asked to respond with Yes, No or No Consensus.



For what should charter schools be held accountable?


1. The reasons for revoking or not renewing a charter should include that the school:

  1. A.    Failed to meet content standards, pupil performance standards or school climate standards.B.Failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management (current law)C.Violated any provision of state or federal law from which the charter school was not exempted ( current law)D.Exceeded student expulsion rates or attrition rates of district schoolsE.Discriminated against students based on family economics, disability, race, creed, color, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education servicesF.  Employed fewer than 90% teachers who are fully certified (would require a change in the law from the current 75% requirement for most charter schools)G.    Interfered with union organizingH.Used curriculum or instruction that failed to maintain the separation of church and stateI.    Failed to admit students throughout the year as space became availableJ. Failed to enforce truancy laws


How often should charter schools be held accountable for charter renewal?


2. Existing charter schools should be evaluated in incremental periods:

A.    not to exceed 5 years for purposes of charter renewal

B.   not to exceed 10 years for purposes of charter renewal


Who should hold charter schools accountable?


3. The authority for approving and renewing charters should reside in:

A.    A body which has been elected to oversee spending of taxpayer dollars (e.g., school districts outside of Chicago)

B.A body which has been appointed by a mayor (e.g., Chicago Public School Board)

C.The Illinois State Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor

D.A State Charter School Commission which is nominated by the governor and appointed by the Illinois State Board of Ed.


4. Local voters should be able through referendum to:

A.    Establish a proposed charter school (current law)

B.   Override a decision by the Charter Commission which reverses the decision of a local school board.




5. Like other public schools, charter schools should be subject to:

A.   Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest of members of the governing board


B.   Disclosure of sources of revenue

C.   Disclosure of salaries and benefit packages

D.   Disclosure of the identity of the owner of any property and buildings

E.   Disclosure of admission processes





6. Since charter schools receive public funding:

A.    Subcontracting most of the management of a school to a for-profit organization should be prohibited

B.When a student transfers between traditional public and charter schools, funding for that pupil should be prorated and transferred in a timely fashion

C.All property, equipment, and materials purchased by a school with public dollars should be surrendered to the local district if the school closes for any reason


7. Adequate and equitable funding for charter schools:

A.    Should be accomplished without financial harm to traditional public schools in the district.


8. In some cases, charter schools provide virtual education through computers off-site and the students do not need to attend a bricks and mortar school.

A.    This is not appropriate for elementary aged students except in rare circumstances

B.For high school students, funding should be based on actual costs rather than the same level of funding provided to other charter schools.




9. Does the League membership still support these statements from the 2001 position?

A.    The advantages of charters largely outweigh the disadvantages.

B.   An area of opportunity resulting from charter schools is innovation.

C.    An area of opportunity resulting from charter schools is increased parental choice.



NOTE: The LWVIL position regarding charter schools is intended to apply as well to contract schools in Chicago. Contract schools are public schools which, like charter schools, are operated by private entities under contract with Chicago Public Schools, but are subject to more of the operating rules of traditional Chicago public schools, such as union membership for teachers.



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