FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Board Staff Upholds Crete-Monee School District's Revocation
of Charter GSU Charter School Out of Compliance with Charter
The Governors State University Charter School failed to comply
with its charter and the state’s Charter Schools Law
and the Crete-Monee school district was within its rights
to revoke the charter, State Board of Education staff ruled
The Crete-Monee school district approved the request for
the charter in February of 2000 and the State Board certified
a five-year charter for the school to serve students in grades
K through 4. In January, the Crete-Monee board voted to revoke
the charter, citing several alleged violations of provisions
of that charter and Illinois’ Charter Schools Law.
The GSU board appealed the revocation to the State Board,
which may overrule the school district’s decision if
it finds the charter school complies with state laws and if
it is in the best interests of the students it is designed
Representatives of the Crete-Monee district and the GSU Charter
School presented oral arguments to a hearing panel in June.
Deficiencies alleged by Crete-Monee included:
A change in the school’s governance structure constituted
an unauthorized material revision of the charter’s
Failure to have an audit by a CPA within 90 days of
the end of the fiscal year;
Failure to provide student achievement data, student
discipline data and a description of any revisions to
the proposed educational program; and
Failure to provide an extended-day program, foreign
language instruction, child care, preschool instruction,
a full-year program and a fine arts program as described
in the original, approved charter.
The appeals panel found that the charter school did fail
to have the audit completed within the specified time frame
(deficiency #2) and that it also did not provide numerous
programs promised by the charter that was approved (#4). The
school district and parents were told these programs would
be provided, but the charter school unilaterally decided not
to offer them due to “lack of funding.”
The appeal panel only partially agreed with deficiency item
number three, concluding that the school provided achievement
data to the district and that it would be premature to conclude
it was not making reasonable progress since it has not yet
had the full length of time provided by the charter. The panel
did conclude, however, that the charter school failed to provide
a description of any revisions to the proposed educational
program before implementing such changes. The panel noted
that merely providing information to the district would not
have been sufficient to authorize substantial changes. The
charter school and the district would have needed to amend
the charter under provisions of state law.
The panel recommended that the State Superintendent deny
the appeal of the charter’s revocation because the findings
under deficiencies number two and four demonstrated that the
charter school did not comply with its charter and the Charter
Superintendent Respicio Vazquez recused himself from ruling
on the case because of previous professional relationships
with Governors State University staff. Vazquez asked Chief
Educational Officer Christopher Koch to review the panel’s
recommendation and make the final decision on the appeal.
Koch signed the order denying the appeal July 30.
While the order may be subject to review by the courts, the
charter school can not operate after the date of the order.
Students planning to enroll will need to enroll in the appropriate
school within the Crete-Monee school district.