This watered-down version of the bill still leaves rejected charter operators a way into to local school districts. It would shift the Commission's authority to a newly created board to be impaneled by Gov. Quinn appointed Supt. Christopher Koch, with final decisions on rejected charter-school applications resting with the State Board of Education.
The Commission seems to have crossed the line when it overrode a CPS Board vote and cleared Des Plaines-based Concept Schools to open two new charter campuses in Chicago. The Sun-Times reported in December that Turkish billionaire and political intriguer Fethullah Gülen, who essentially owns Concept Schools and runs the biggest network of privately-run charters in the U.S., hosted House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and many other Illinois lawmakers on trips to Turkey in recent years.
And records show the state charter commission’s Springfield lobbyist is Liz Brown-Reeves — a former Madigan aide who accompanied lawmakers on their trip to Turkey in 2012. The Commission also received big funding from Walton and other private, pro-charter foundations.
I suspect this move is an attempt to clean up the the Gülen connection and create a buffer between the corrupt charter operation, Madigan and Gov. Quinn. Nevertheless, a win for school districts and the teacher unions who stood in opposition to the Commission. We'll see what happens in the House.