AURORA - State Rep. LInda Chapa Lavia has friends in the teachers union ranks - some of which have written her checks pushing nearly $40k. She's also leading an aggressive attack on Illinois' charter schools, deemed as job competitors by teachers unions.
The Aurora Democrat introduced 10 bills this session the Illinois Charter School Network opposes for shrinking charter school options, raising obstacles for new charters and unplugging the state's charter school governing committee.
Why is Rep. Chapa Lavia - who is especially influential as the chairman of the House Elementary and Secondary Committee - so adamant in her efforts to stifle charter schools?
"Her campaign to cripple charter schools is entirely logical. In fact, there are at least 14,000 reasons why the Aurora Democrat is determined to cripple charter schools," Paul Kersey of the Illinois Policy Institute says. "It’s just that none of those 14,000 reasons is a kid."
Chapa LaVia’s legislative agenda includes bills that would
- Allow local school boards to block charters in their districts
- Prevent charters from opening near the site of any school that has been closed in the past decade – closing off much of Chicago from charters
- Extend a moratorium on virtual charter schools that use Web video for instruction
- Prohibit advertising by charter schools
Kiersey found that teachers unions have bestowed upon Rep. Chapa Lavia $14,000 in campaign funds.
Digging back to 2007, Illinois Review found that Chapa Lavia has raked in thousands more from various teacher unions - statewide as well as local organizations.
She's gotten $5900 American Federation of Teachers Local 604, $2000 from the Chicago Teachers Union, $3000 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers and $27,400 from the Illinois Education Association's PAC, IPACE and another $1000 from the West Suburban teachers pac, adding up to at $39,300.
Rep Chapa Lavia's controversial racial comments during a debate on one of her anti-charter school bills last week drew national attention. She apologized for referring to one bi-racial Republican House member as "half of a minority."