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School District 101 Board rejects online charter school proposal

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:54 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – The Batavia School District 101 board on Tuesday joined other school districts in rejecting a proposal by Virtual Learning Solutions to start an online charter school.

"I'm not against virtual learning," said board member Gregg Hodge, explaining his "no" vote. "I have a problem with the lack of accountability their board seems to show."

Geneva, St. Charles and Kaneland school districts on Monday also voted to deny the proposal. Virtual Learning Solutions, a nonprofit group, is seeking to create the Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley, which would open this fall. The company wants to contract with K12 Inc., a for-profit company, to provide the online instruction.

As proposed, Illinois Virtual Charter School would serve 18 Fox Valley school districts, including District 101.

Board members criticized Virtual Learning Solutions and K12 officials for not answering questions from staff.

"They essentially thumbed their nose at the process," board member Joseph Purpura said. "We asked a bunch of questions but got no answers."

Board members unanimously approved Batavia School Superintendent Jack Barshinger's recommendation to reject the proposal as presented. Virtual Learning Solutions has said it plans to appeal denials to the Illinois Charter School Commission as applicable.

Barshinger said five compliance violations were found in the proposed contract, including that the proposal does not contain goals or pupil performance standards to be achieved by the charter school and that the proposal fails to demonstrate that the terms are economically sound for the charter school and District 101.

"If approved, it is estimated that the proposal will remove an estimated $144,120 to $752,640 from the 2013-14 budget," he said.

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