Community and business leaders, as well as parents and teachers packed into Rockford College Tuesday night, for a forum explaining the potential benefits of bringing a charter public school to Rockford. Charter schools are authorized and held accountable by the local school district, but they have their own boards and set some of their own rules.
Charters often have smaller class sizes, longer school days and years, more parental involvement and more teacher and student accountability.
Charter schools tend to attract minority and low-achieving students, yet their results far exceed regular public schools, in terms of attendance and graduation rates, test scores and students moving on to college.
"From the day that a student walks in the door inside a charter school the mind set is that those kids are going to go to college," says David Weinberg, of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey adds, "If we hold ourselves accountable and if we invite the flexibility and options that come from a charter I think we all do move forward and we do advance. Increase in revenue, decrease in cost I think that is a great thing for our community."
Rockford school district leaders at Tuesday night's forum say they support the charter schools movement.
It will be another year or two before a charter could come to town.