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August 8, 2003

State Board of Education will not renew Thomas Jefferson School charter

Des Plaines school must close by August 15

The charter of the Thomas Jefferson Charter school of Des Plaines will not be renewed and the school must discontinue operations by August 15, the Illinois State Board of Education said today.

In a letter sent yesterday to the school’s officials, Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education, said Thomas Jefferson had failed to fulfill the conditions placed on it in June by the state board for continued operation.

At its June 17 meeting, the state board renewed the Thomas Jefferson charter for one year – rather than the 5-year renewal that was sought – subject to receipt and ISBE approval by August 1 of an accountability plan and compliance with all special education requirements of federal law.

Since that meeting, Schiller said, the state board has provided guidance and technical assistance to the school staff as it prepared its accountability and special education plans. Nonetheless, ISBE found both submissions lacking. (see linked materials below for detailed explanation.)

“The state board appreciates the hard work and effort the school expended in offering a public school choice, but the fact remains the accountability plan was lacking and the compliance with federal special education law wasn’t achieved,” Schiller said.

Thomas Jefferson opened its doors in the 1999-2000 school year and is one of two schools in Illinois chartered by the state board rather than by a local school district. The school had an enrollment of 77 students and class size ranges from eight to 19 students. The student population is 77 per cent Asian/Pacific Islander with a minority of white, black and Hispanic students. A majority of the students speak English as a second language.

Letter to School Officials

Accountability Plan Review

Thomas Jefferson Charter School Special Education Review

Closing Procedures

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777