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Request for virtual school denied in District 303

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles School District 303 board Monday unanimously denied a virtual school proposal from Illinois Virtual Learning Solutions.

“I don’t know how any [students] would be better served by this program,” Vice President Kathy Hewell said.

Virtual Learning Solutions, a nonprofit formed in February, wants to open the Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley. It was seeking approval from 18 school districts in Kane, DeKalb, DuPage, Kendall and Will counties to enroll their students.

While the nonprofit would govern the school, it has said day-to-day administrative and curriculum responsibilities would be handled by K12 Inc., a Virginia company.

The virtual school would receive funding from the local districts.

A K12 representative spoke to the school board last month, but members on Monday said they still had unanswered questions, even after Virtual Learning Solutions submitted a 1,080-page document late Thursday.

Hewell described the information as “just stuff,” adding she didn’t see specific answers to the district’s questions.

And the questions didn’t seem out of line, board President Steve Spurling said.

Corinne Pierog said she was troubled by the influence K12 has on virtual charter schools. She also was bothered that little of the funding would support curriculum. She said she will not support a school or institution that takes advantage of district parents.

“They’re looking to line their own pockets,” member Mike Vyzral said.

If the organization was serious about the charter school, Vyzral said, it would have sent more than one person to pitch the idea to the board.

Board members also noted they received no emails in support of the proposed school.

Superintendent Don Schlomann said the district will submit a document to the state that outlines the administration’s and board’s reasons. He said the resolution approved Monday states that the proposal doesn’t comply with state law, and the proposed school wouldn’t be in the best interests of the students it is designed to serve.

Virtual Learning Solutions has said it plans to appeal denials to the Illinois Charter School Commission as applicable.

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