INCS believes in a fair, transparent, and predictable renewal process for all of our member schools. Over the years, we have advocated with authorizers across the state to ensure that they work with our member schools productively so that the students educated in charter public schools have the benefit of a predictable renewal process. In fact, that is why we successfully changed state law in 2017 to permit a 10-year renewal term for high performing schools.
While we are pleased that all of our CPS member schools considered at the CPS board meeting this week were renewed, we are very disappointed in the length of the renewal terms. While Illinois law permits 10-year terms for high-performing schools, the CPS board has apparently implemented an unofficial cap of five years. This is evident by the board’s decision to only renew Polaris for five years, for example, even though the school met all the renewal criteria. Some schools received a two-year term, which creates administrative redundancy and an ongoing renewal process.
Despite this disappointment in the renewal outcomes, we are proud of the number of parents, students, teachers, and advocates who turned up to the board meeting and showed their support. These proud charter champions filled 22 of the 30 available slots during public comment and moved listeners with their powerful testaments to their schools and communities. Even reporter Sarah Karp was impressed:
The charter movement laid the groundwork for this coverage over the past four months as we continually appeared before the CPS board in public session to talk about the contributions charter schools have made to our neighborhoods and our families. This impact was recognized in favorable coverage from news organizations such as The Chicago Tribune, which was generated by a media conference call. The call gave INCS an opportunity to strengthen the case for long-term renewal and stress the inconsistency from the CPS board.
We will continue to highlight charter schools as deeply rooted in our communities and connected to Chicago families throughout the city.
We understand and share your frustration from yesterday’s news, but we will not let the board’s decision define who we are as charter champions. As evident by the flood of testimonials during the board meeting, our schools are making an impact in the lives of their students, families, and communities. We will continue to fight for you and for the families you represent.