State of Illinois
2015 and 2016


Introduced 2/17/2015, by Rep. Dwight Kay


New Act

    Creates the Illinois Virtual School Act. Establishes the Illinois Virtual School as a statewide virtual school to serve Illinois students in kindergarten through grade 12 and Illinois teachers and other educators, to be funded through an annual State appropriation to meet the operation and capital needs of the Illinois Virtual School. Sets forth provisions concerning fees, accountability, online courses, access and equity, a Board of Trustees, the powers of the Board, and the transition from the existing State Board of Education program. Effective immediately.

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1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Illinois Virtual School Act.
6    Section 5. Policy and purposes. The General Assembly
7hereby finds and declares that meeting the educational needs of
8children in our State's schools is of the greatest importance
9to the future welfare of this State; closing the achievement
10gap between high-performing students, including the gap
11between minority and non-minority students and between
12economically disadvantaged students and their more advantaged
13peers, is a significant and present challenge; and providing a
14broader range of educational options to parents and utilizing
15existing resources, along with technology, may help students in
16our State improve their academic achievement. In recognition of
17these needs, this Act creates the Illinois Virtual School, a
18statewide virtual school, to ensure equitable access to rich
19and varied learning opportunities for Illinois students, with
20an emphasis on curricular areas needed to ensure that all
21students can meet the Illinois Learning Standards and succeed
22in higher education and the workplace; support schools in the
23integration of online learning technology into their own



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1educational programs; and expand high-quality professional
2development opportunities for Illinois teachers and other
4    The primary purposes of the Illinois Virtual School shall
5be the following:
6        (1) to offer to all students in this State in grades
7    kindergarten through 12 rigorous online courses aligned to
8    State and national standards and taught by highly qualified
9    online instructors to supplement and complement the
10    educational opportunities available in the students'
11    current educational setting;
12        (2) to provide to schools in this State access to the
13    same online courses along with professional development
14    for the schools' faculty so that the local school may
15    provide online learning options taught by their own
16    faculty; and
17        (3) to provide online professional development
18    opportunities for Illinois teachers and other educators to
19    assist in meeting re-certification requirements.
20    Section 10. Creation and funding. There is hereby created
21the Illinois Virtual School, a statewide virtual school to
22serve Illinois students in kindergarten through grade 12 and
23Illinois teachers and other educators, funded through an annual
24State appropriation to meet the operation and capital needs of
25the Illinois Virtual School. Fees may be charged to schools and



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1home-schooled families on a per enrollment basis to cover costs
2directly associated with the offering of online courses and the
3providing of online curriculum to Illinois schools. The
4Illinois Virtual School may also charge fees for services
5provided to students and schools outside of this State in order
6to further support the services provided to Illinois students
7and educators.
8    In order to be eligible for State appropriations, the
9Illinois Virtual School shall submit to the State Board of
10Education not later than the 1st day of October of each year
11its budget proposal for the operation and capital needs of the
12Illinois Virtual School for its next fiscal year.
13    Section 15. Accountability. The operations of the Illinois
14Virtual School must be audited on an annual basis by the Office
15of the Auditor General. The Illinois Virtual School shall
16prepare an annual report to be submitted to the General
17Assembly and the Governor regarding the Illinois Virtual
18School's accomplishments. An external program evaluation must
19be conducted by an organization with knowledge and expertise in
20online learning at least every 3 years.
21    Section 20. Online courses.
22    (a) In accordance with the first purpose of the Illinois
23Virtual School in Section 5 of this Act, the Illinois Virtual
24School is authorized to offer online courses to all students in



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1grades kindergarten through 12.
2    (b) The Illinois Virtual School shall have the following
4        (1) The curriculum must be aligned to State or national
5    learning standards.
6        (2) The courses must be delivered by certified teachers
7    that meet applicable highly qualified criteria under the
8    federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and have knowledge
9    and skills specific to teaching online. These teachers may
10    be considered by the students' school as the teacher of
11    record.
12        (3) The Illinois Virtual School must provide support
13    and training to staff at the students' school with respect
14    to their participation in online courses.
15        (4) Upon completion of a course, the Illinois Virtual
16    School must provide a report to the students' school
17    regarding the students' academic performance based upon
18    his or her demonstrated level of mastery of the subject
19    matter.
20    (c) The local school shall have the following
22        (1) To make the determination if a student is approved
23    to enroll in an Illinois Virtual School course. The school
24    may not deny a student participation in an Illinois Virtual
25    School course if the course is an appropriate part of the
26    student's course of instruction and the school is unable to



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1    provide the course locally by a certified instructor.
2        (2) When the student is at the school building, to
3    provide supervision of the student during periods of time
4    the student is assigned to work on his or her Illinois
5    Virtual School course.
6        (3) When requested by the Illinois Virtual School
7    instructor, to proctor a student's participation in
8    Illinois Virtual School activities or assessments.
9        (4) If the course is designated by the Illinois Virtual
10    School as covering the equivalent of at least one semester
11    of course content, based on the report of the student's
12    academic performance upon the completion of the course, to
13    issue a final grade consistent with local school policy and
14    place the course on the student's permanent record or
15    academic transcript.
16        (5) To provide payment to the Illinois Virtual School
17    for applicable enrollment fees.
18    (d) If a student is home schooled, the student's parent or
19legal guardian has the responsibility to do the following:
20        (1) Make the determination if the student is approved
21    to enroll in an Illinois Virtual School course.
22        (2) Make sure the student's Illinois Virtual School
23    course is supervised by a responsible adult.
24        (3) When requested by the Illinois Virtual School
25    instructor, proctor the student's participation in
26    Illinois Virtual School activities or assessments.



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1        (4) Provide payment to the Illinois Virtual School for
2    the applicable enrollment fees.
3    Section 25. Access and equity. The Illinois Virtual School
4is established to increase the access and equity of diverse and
5rigorous curricular offerings to all students in this State. As
6such, the Illinois Virtual School shall establish policies and
7practices that are explicitly intended to serve those students
8not currently receiving access to such offerings.
9    Section 30. Board of Trustees. The Illinois Virtual School
10shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, which shall consist
11of the following members:
12        (1) Four representatives of kindergarten through grade
13    12 education, appointed by the State Superintendent of
14    Education.
15        (2) Three representatives of higher education, 2 of
16    whom are appointed by the Executive Director of the Board
17    of Higher Education and the other appointed by the
18    Executive Director of the Illinois Community College
19    Board.
20        (3) Two representatives of the Illinois business
21    community, appointed by the Governor.
22        (4) Two representatives of the public at large
23    appointed by the Governor.
24        (5) Four ex-officio nonvoting members, who shall be the



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1    State Superintendent of Education or his or her designee,
2    the Executive Director of the Illinois Community College
3    Board or his or her designee, the Executive Director of the
4    Board of Higher Education or his or her designee, and the
5    President of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
6    or his or her designee.
7    With the exception of the initial appointments, the
8members' terms of office shall be for 6 years. At the first
9meeting of the Board, members shall draw lots for appointments
10of 2, 4, or 6-year initial terms. Vacancies shall be filled for
11the unexpired portion of the terms by appointment of the person
12who appointed the member causing such vacancy. The initial
13terms shall commence upon appointment and end upon expiration
14of the term. A member shall continue serving until a successor
15is appointed. The Board shall select a chairperson from among
16its members who shall serve a 2-year term as chairperson.
17Members shall receive no salary, but shall be reimbursed for
18all ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in performing
19their duties as members of the Board.
20    Section 35. Powers of the Board. The Board of Trustees is
21hereby authorized to do the following:
22        (1) Select a President, who shall be the chief
23    executive officer of the Illinois Virtual School and who
24    shall administer the rules and policies adopted by the
25    Board pursuant to this Section. The President shall also be



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1    the chief administrative officer of the Board and shall be
2    responsible for all of the administrative functions,
3    duties, and needs of the Board. The President may not be a
4    member of the Board.
5        (2) Accept donations, bequests, or other forms of
6    financial assistance for educational purposes from any
7    public or private person or agency and comply with rules
8    and regulations governing grants from the federal
9    government or from any other person or agency that are not
10    in contravention of the Illinois Constitution or the laws
11    of the State of Illinois.
12        (3) Purchase equipment and make improvements to
13    facilities necessary for the use of the Illinois Virtual
14    School, in accordance with applicable law.
15        (4) Adopt, amend, or repeal rules and policies
16    necessary or proper for the conduct of the business of the
17    Board and for the efficient operation of the Illinois
18    Virtual School.
19        (5) Award certificates and issue diplomas for
20    successful completion of program of study requirements in
21    such cases where the Illinois Virtual School is authorized
22    to issue credit and diplomas.
23        (6) Adopt an annual budget, recommended by the
24    President, for the continued operation of the Illinois
25    Virtual School.
26        (7) Enter into contracts and agreements that have been



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1    recommended by the President, in accordance with
2    applicable law, and, to the extent that funds are
3    specifically appropriated, with other public agencies with
4    respect to cooperative enterprises and undertakings
5    related to or associated with an educational purpose or
6    program affecting education in the Illinois Virtual
7    School. This shall not preclude the Board from entering
8    into other contracts and agreements that it may deem
9    necessary to carry out its duties and functions.
10    The Board shall delegate to the President such of its
11administrative powers and duties as it deems appropriate to aid
12the President in the efficient administration of his or her
13responsibility for the implementation of the policies of the
15    The Illinois Virtual School shall be empowered to lease or
16purchase real and personal property on commercially reasonable
17terms for the use of the Illinois Virtual School. Any leases or
18purchases of real or personal property and any disposition
19thereof by the Illinois Virtual School must be in compliance
20with the provisions of the Civil Administrative Code of
21Illinois and the State Property Control Act. Personal property
22acquired for the use of the Illinois Virtual School shall be
23inventoried and disposed of in accordance with the State
24Property Control Act.
25    The Illinois Virtual School, its Board of Trustees, and its
26employees shall be represented and indemnified in certain civil



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1lawsuits in accordance with the State Employee Indemnification
3    Section 40. Transition from existing State Board of
4Education program. The following shall apply in order to
5provide an orderly transition from the current statewide online
6program operated by the State Board of Education established
7through policy action on August 24, 2000 or its successor
9        (1) In order to allow for the hiring of a President and
10    other staff to conduct activities to transition from the
11    current program to the Illinois Virtual School, the
12    Illinois Virtual School Board of Trustees shall be formed
13    no later than 60 days after the effective date of this Act.
14        (2) The State Board of Education's current statewide
15    online program shall continue to deliver courses through
16    the end of the 2015-2016 school year. The Illinois Virtual
17    School shall begin offering courses beginning with the
18    summer 2016 term.
19        (3) All intellectual property that was developed by the
20    State Board of Education or its contractors and
21    subcontractors for the operation of the State Board of
22    Education's statewide online program shall be transferred
23    to the Illinois Virtual School.
24        (4) At the request of the Illinois Virtual School, any
25    physical property owned by the State Board of Education or



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1    its contractors that is being used for the operation of the
2    State Board of Education's statewide online program shall
3    be transferred to the Illinois Virtual School.
4        (5) At the discretion of the Illinois Virtual School,
5    in lieu of a competitive bid process required by State law,
6    any contract or sub-contract established by the State Board
7    of Education for operation of its statewide online program
8    may be transferred to the Illinois Virtual School for a
9    period of no longer than 3 years.
10        (6) The Illinois Virtual School shall receive an
11    appropriation for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015 to
12    conduct transition activities and begin offering courses
13    for the summer 2016 term.
14        (7) For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016, the
15    Illinois Virtual School shall submit its budget request to
16    the State Board of Education within 120 days after the
17    formation of the Illinois Virtual School Board of Trustees.
18    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
19becoming law.