School Choice Policies

Charter School Choice

Does the state have charter schools?

Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?


"A charter school shall be a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, non-home based, and non-profit school. A charter school shall be organized and operated as a nonprofit corporation or other discrete, legal, nonprofit entity authorized under the laws of the State of Illinois."

"A charter school may negotiate and contract with...any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for: (i) the use of a school building and grounds or any other real property or facilities that the charter school desires to use or convert for use as a charter school site, (ii) the operation and maintenance thereof, and (iii) the provision of any service, activity, or undertaking that the charter school is required to perform in order to carry out the terms of its charter."

105 ILCS 5/27A-5(a) & (h): Charter school; legal entity; requirements

Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?


The total number of charter schools shall not exceed 120. Not more than 70 charters may operate in a city with a population exceeding 500,000, with at least five devoted to students from low-performing or overcrowded schools. Not more than 45 charter schools shall operate in remainder of Illinois, with not more than one school initiated by board of education or by intergovernmental agreement between boards of education at any one time in a district.

105 ILCS 5/27A-4(b): General provisions

Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?


Charter schools shall provide a description of how they plan to meet the transportation needs of its pupils, and a plan for addressing the transportation needs of low-income and at-risk pupils. However, a local school board shall not attempt to obligate a charter school to provide transportation for students for whom a district is not required to provide transportation under the criteria set forth in subsection (a)(13) of Section 27A-7.

105 ILCS 5/27A-7(a)(13): Charter submission
105 ILCS 5/27A-11(b): Local financing

Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?


"Charter schools shall employ in instructional positions, as defined in the charter, individuals who are certificated under Article 21 of this Code or who possess the following qualifications:

(i) graduated with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;

(ii) been employed for a period of at least 5 years in an area requiring application of the individual's education;

(iii) (blank); and

(iv) demonstrate continuing evidence of professional growth which shall include, but not be limited to, successful teaching experience, attendance at professional meetings, membership in professional organizations, additional credits earned at institutions of higher learning, travel specifically for educational purposes, and reading of professional books and periodicals."

105 ILCS 5/27A-10 (c)(i-iv): Employees

Virtual School Choice

Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?


Virtual schools "are cyber schools where students engage in online curriculum and instruction via the Internet and electronic communication with their teachers at remote locations." There was a moratorium on virtual schools from April 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016, but it did not apply to existing virtual-schooling components in district schools.

105 ILCS 5/27A-5 (b-5) Charter school; legal entity; requirements

Are virtual schools required to track attendance?

Did not find

Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?

Did not find

Private School Choice

Does the state have voucher programs?


No voucher programs found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?


Illinois statutes allow for an education expense credit: A taxpayer who is the parent/legal guardian of one or more qualifying pupils shall be allowed a tax credit for qualified education expenses (excess of $250 for tuition, book fees, and lab fees) incurred on behalf of the qualifying pupils.

Education Expense Tax Credit: 35 ILCS5/201(m)

Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?

Not Applicable

Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?

Not Applicable

Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?

Not Applicable

Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?

Not Applicable

Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?

Not Applicable

Interdistrict School Choice

Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?

Did not find

Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?

Did not find

Page last updated: July 2024

Click here to download the State Policy Spreadsheet. Click here to download the State Policy Map Data Memo.

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The State Policy Map provides a snapshot of school choice policy found in laws passed by the legislative bodies, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on information gathered from state statutes in fall 2019; data checks continued through December 2020. Information on this site may not include the most up-to-date policy information. The State Policy Map does not systematically reflect state Department of Education administrative policies, rules, or regulations. All content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Links to third-party websites are for the user’s convenience; neither REACH nor any affiliated entities endorse the contents of third-party sites.

Note: On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from the state's tax credit scholarship program was unconstitutional (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 591). The responses to the question "Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?" were collected before this ruling and therefore do not reflect any changes resulting from the Espinoza decision.