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School Board discusses charter school concerns

in Featured/Kaneland/Regional by

by Mary Parrilli
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday held a public hearing on the charter school proposal submitted to the district by Virtual Learning Solutions (VLS). The board was also given a proposal presentation by a representative from K12, a management company that is seeking partnership with VLS.

John McMurray, a representative from K12, on Monday presented to the board and proposed an online charter school called Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley, a completely online school system for grades K-12. It is a public school, funded by public money, with no cost to parents. It operates much like a regular public school, with standardized tests, a common core curriculum and daily classes.

VLS has proposed to District 302 a charge of $8,000 allocated to them per student.

“The establishment of a charter school will have an impact on Kaneland finances,” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler noted to the board. “It is important for the board to prioritize the impact that the charter school will have on the local taxpayer, given that there would be less money available from the state.”

The board voiced many questions and concerns regarding the online charter school; one such concern was that K12 is a for-profit company, making money off of taxpayers.

“K12 is a for-profit company, and as far as I know, they are making a sizeable profit, millions of dollars. I don’t like the fact that you (K12) are making profits off the backs of taxpayers,” School Board trustee Joe Oberweis said.

Members of the community in attendance also voiced their concerns, including Sharon Beck, high school math teacher and president of the Kaneland Education Association.

“We need property taxes to pay for schools that provide our community with high-quality education,” Beck said. “The fact of the matter is that charter schools take from public schools.”

The board will make a decision and vote within 30 days to grant or deny the proposal.

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