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Naperville District 203 Adds Its Rejection of Virtual Charter School

District 203 School Board members on Monday night deny a proposal by K12 to open an online charter school named Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley.

Add Naperville Unit School District 203 to the list of school boards from around the area that have voted to deny Virtual Learning Solutions' K12 Inc. admittance to their curriculum.

Batavia and Geneva school boards soundly rejected the the plan in votes last week.

District 203 School Board members firmly rejected a proposal by K12 to open an online charter school named Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley during Monday's board meeting. K12 Inc. has recently attempted to open the school in 17 other suburban school districts—an effort overseen by the Illinois’ State Charter School Commission.

"Quite honestly the research is inconclusive as to the effectiveness of K12 virtual charter schools," said Superintendent Dan Bridges.

Bridges cited concerns regarding disproportionate class sizes compared to traditional classrooms as well as a lack of criteria for acceptance into the charter school. 

Local districts have said the charter school could take as much as $8,000 per pupil from district coffers if it were to start up a Fox Valley charter school option, which was one of board member Terry Fielden's biggest concerns.

"I'm not against charter schools, I think they have there place, but I think we are going to have to come to grips on where the money is going to come from," Fielden said. 

Board member Susan Crotty was also vocal in her opposition to the proposal Monday. 

"I have to say, after going through this whole process and seeing what your staff has gone through Dan, I'm absolutely irate on the hoops that they made us jump through to get to nowhere, really," Crotty said. 

In March, District 203 held a public hearing regarding the proposal and have spent "considerable" time discussing the issue. 

"I think the thing that's saddest is that they give all of charter schools a bad name," she added.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, is crafting legislation that would stop the online learning proposals for up to a year, according to a report in the Kane County Chronicle. 

The moratorium would give the state more time to study virtual online learning and its effects on education.

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