A state lawmaker says there ought to be more school choice, in a variety of forms. State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) says he’ll back legislation to raise the limit on charter schools, and he’ll work to resurrect legislation that would give students vouchers to pay private school tuition.
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“I want to give students and parents more choice and a better educational outcome. We need to expand charters, we need to enable vouchers or opportunity scholarships here in the state of Illinois,” he said at a news conference Friday morning in Chicago.
The number of charter schools running now is nowhere near the limit, but Morrison says he expects demand to cause schools to be established. State law limits charter schools to 75 in Chicago and 45 Downstate and in the suburbs. Currently, there are 38 Chicago charter schools (some with multiple campuses), and 14 in the rest of the state.A limited voucher bill for private school tuition failed in Springfield in 2009.
Morrison was speaking on the occasion of teachers’ strikes in Chicago and Lake Forest, pointing out that charter schools are open for business. Supporters of charter schools recognize that someday charter school teachers will unionize – some already have – and that there may be strikes at charter schools someday, yet they still consider the charter schools an important alternative to district public schools.
Morrison does not envision a system that would allow students to walk in and enroll free of charge at public schools in districts where they do not reside.