Bill that would create parity for charter school students moves forward with bipartisan support

UPDATE: Thanks to the shared advocacy of our community, Facilitating Equity in Education for Students (FEES) (House Bill 5265) was moved out of committee with unanimous, bipartisan support on February 16. Sixty-five people submitted witness slips as proponents of the bill.

Representative Will Guzzardi, CCH Grassroots Leader and Board Member Maxica Williams, and CCH Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips testified at the hearing. CCH is grateful to be one step closer to ensuring every student in Illinois has access to a free and comprehensive education.  

Read our fact sheet on HB5265 here.

Photo of grassroots leader April Harris, smiling from her neck up. April is quoted: “Waivers at charter
schools prevent students from falling through the cracks and help students stay focused on their academics and not their current situation. It is important for students to feel that they matter and that they’re not forgotten during difficult times.”
Grassroots Leader and Outreach Assistant April Harris

Take action for charter school students

Today at 2pm, HB5265 will be heard by an Illinois House committee. This bill would create parity for charter school students, ensuring they have access to fee waivers like their public school counterparts. In public schools, students experiencing homelessness or whose families are classified as low-income have access to fee waivers. But in charter schools, education advocates and parents have found that there is no uniformity in notification or eligibility for waivers, and the waivers are given on a case-by-case basis usually only when parents and guardians reach out to their school’s administrators. This legislation would ensure access to fee waivers for Illinois students and families, regardless of whether they attend a public or charter school. 

The legislation would also expand waivers to include fines imposed on students and families and prohibit withholding transcripts and other disciplinary action due to lack of payment of school fees before determining if the family qualifies for a fee waiver.   

Please slip in support of HB5265 before 1:30pm today!

To file a slip in support:

  1. Go to this link
  2. Fill out the form with your information. If you do not represent a firm or organization, please write “NA” in the Firm/Business Or Agency and Title fields and “Self” under Representation. 
  3. To indicate your support of the bill, please click “Proponent.”
  4. For testimony, choose “Record of Appearance Only.
  5. Submit the slip by clicking the “Create Slip” button.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally published on February 16, this article was updated later that day to include an update on HB5265.