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Illinois Awarded Millions For More Charter Schools

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois students may have more schools to choose from in the near future.

Over the next five years, the U. S. Department of Education will give Illinois 42-million dollars to spend on the creation of up to 70 new charter schools. Illinois is one of eight states to receive an award through a competitive application process. 

Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, called the announcement “a great day for Illinois families.”

But Charlie McBarron, a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association teachers’ union, says the money should have gone to traditional public schools, which are underfunded in Illinois.

"We think this is a very disappointing use of very scarce resources to support education," he said.

The money will be parceled out by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Two Illinois charter networks were awarded expansion grants — separate from the statewide money.  LEARN Charter Network will receive $6.5 million; Noble Network will receive about $8.5 million. Noble Network includes Rauner College Prep, which was established "with the support and generosity" of Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana Rauner. 

After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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