For Immediate Release
September 30, 2011

Illinois State Board of Education approves members of State Charter School Commission

Appointments to commission responsible for considering and authorizing charters on appeal

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has approved nine members to the Illinois' newly-established State Charter School Commission. The commission is responsible for authorizing high-quality charter schools throughout Illinois, particularly schools designed to expand opportunities for at-risk students.

“These nine individuals provide a diverse range of expertise and real world experience that will serve our state and schools well as they consider appeals for local charter schools,” said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “These Commission members will help ensure that Charter School applicants receive thorough consideration and review and that the most high quality Charter schools are established for students across the state.”

The State Charter School Commission, established in legislation passed earlier this year, will be primarily charged with considering the appeals of charter agreements and proposals that have been denied, revoked, or not renewed by a local school board and authorizing quality charter school applications and denying inadequate applications. Additionally, the commission must monitor the performance and legal compliance of charter schools authorized by the commission and determine if each school merits renewal, nonrenewal or revocation.

“I am excited the Governor and Illinois State Board of Education have moved expeditiously to appoint Commission members and look forward to the beginning of this critical work,” said State Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago, sponsor of the legislation that established the Commission.

The following members have been approved by the ISBE Board to serve on the nine-member commission:

  1. Glen Barton, former Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria

  2. Sean Denney, lobbyist, Illinois Education Association, Evanston

  3. Jaime Guzman, Chief Advisor to the Board of Trustees, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago

  4. Mike Jacoby, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, DeKalb

  5. Greg Richmond, President & CEO, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Chicago

  6. Angela Renee Rudolph, Program Officer, Joyce Foundation

  7. Paul Swanstrom, former Superintendent, Joliet Township High School District 204, Crete

  8. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, Executive Director, TARGET Area Development Corp., Chicago

  9. Rudy Valdez, General Manager – Asia Programs, Hamilton Sunstrand Corp., Rockford

The State Charter School Commission is currently unfunded but may charge a school that it authorizes an administrative fee, not to exceed three percent of the revenue provided to the school. The commission is also charged, on a biennial basis, with producing a report on best practices in charter school authorizing, including evaluating applications, oversight and renewal of charter schools.

Commission members will serve on staggered terms of office beginning with initial 2-, 3-and 4-year terms (after which all terms will be 4 years). Their terms are scheduled to begin November 1, 2011. The ISBE Board recommended that Greg Richmond chair the Commission.