|For Immediate Release
October 10, 2004
New State Board of Education
announces agreement for charter high school in Venice
Springfield, Ill. State Board of Education Interim
Superintendent Randy Dunn unveiled an agreement between
the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Venice
Community Unit School District for a charter high school
in Venice. Dunn made the announcement in Venice, following
a meeting with community leaders there.
The agreement follows the Governors call to action
last week for the State Board to approve a charter school
This community has worked hard to make a charter
school in Venice a reality, said Dunn. The
State Board heard the Governors call to quickly
end a long bureaucratic struggle for this community. Following
his direction, we have worked closely with the Venice
community on an innovative plan grounded in common sense.
Its the right thing for the kids and what they deserve.
Dunn announced the agreement for Lincoln Charter School
(LCS) today, following intensive work over the last few
days with Madison County Regional Superintendent Harry
Briggs, Venice Schools Superintendent Mary Hagan, and
a number of community leaders.
Specifics of the agreement include:
- The Lincoln Charter School Board is partnering with
community organizations and education experts to provide
access to all available resources for success.
- The Madison County Urban League will assist in
the delivery of additional social services for students
and families at Lincoln School.
- Southern Illinois University will provide consultation
as well as professional development for LCS faculty
- LCS will be formed as a not-for-profit organization
with a strong, experienced board that draws on community
- At the request of the Venice School Board, and because
of the unique circumstances surrounding establishing
LCS, ISBE has agreed to be a partner in the schools
- LCS has developed an academic calendar that assures
LCS students will attend the requisite number of school
days. The LCS calendar will include students attendance
in other districts.
- For any students that have not been in school and
need supplemental hours, LCS will provide additional
- The Venice School District, Regional Superintendent
Harry Briggs, local leaders and the State Board will
work to identify resources for financial and programmatic
support to assist the school.
LCS Board members will include: Elliot Lessen, Southern
Illinois University at Edwardsville; Starsky Wilson, Madison
County Urban League; Regional Superintendent Harry Briggs;
and Venice Schools Superintendent Mary Hagan.
The remarkable work of the Venice community in
the struggle to do the right thing for their children,
and the strong support of so many community leaders has
led to a plan that will move quickly to get students into
the classroom, said Dunn. They will now have
a good school. They deserve that.
Last month, when the Governor appointed seven new
members to the State Board, he made it clear that the
Board was accountable not just to him, but, to you and
all the people in every community in Illinois, said
Dunn. What happened here shows how accountability
can bring about positive change. When I reviewed the proposal
that had been stalled for so many months, I felt that
many of the reasons cited earlier as deficiencies werent
Uprooting kids to send them outside their community
to schools facing similar challenges as their hometown
school doesnt make sense, said Dunn. The
community knew it was unacceptable and so did our Governor,
who has made education a top priority for his administration.
Working with a new team in place at the State Board, under
the Governors leadership, we now have a plan that
addresses the Venice communitys needs while meeting
the intent and letter of state and federal law.