A little-known state agency backed by powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has overruled Chicago public school officials, ordering them to approve and fund two new charter schools in the city.
The schools are run by Concept Schools Inc. The Des Plaines-based organization operates 30 publicly financed privately-run schools in the Midwest, a majority of them in Ohio.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports Concept is the first and only charter to benefit from the decision of the Illinois State Charter School Commission, founded in 2011 by Madigan. The two new schools will be located in the McKinley Park and Austin neighborhoods. They are getting 33 percent more funding per student than the city school system gives other charters.
Democratic state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia wants the state agency eliminated.