March 16, 2016

Illinois Legislators Who Support Public Charter Schools Prevail

Illinois legislators stand up for charter public schools and win their races. Primary election results promising for Illinois charter school families. 

INCS Action, Illinois’ only statewide advocacy organization that focuses on improving access to quality charter public schools for Illinois families, congratulates the candidates who stood up for charter public schools and won in yesterday’s primary elections. INCS Action’s affiliated organizations, INCS Action PAC and INCS Action Independent Committee (IC), invested in races for the State Senate and State House of Representatives and propelled several candidates to victory.

“Yesterday’s primary election was a win for Illinois students and families,” said David Weinberg, Chairman of INCS Action PAC. “All students deserve access to a high-quality education, and these candidates have made clear their dedication to providing students with this basic human right. We look forward to working with them to continue to improve our state’s public education system.”

The impact of yesterday’s election is now more important than ever. Political organizations opposed to new school models that allow families to choose a public school that best fits the needs of their child spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat candidates with views in opposition to their own. However, the message from voters was clear: candidates can support the charter school movement and the 64,000 Illinois students it represents and get re-elected.

“We applaud the voters yesterday whose voices spoke loud and clear as they demanded leaders who embrace equal educational opportunities,” said Adam Rogalski, Director of Government Affairs for INCS Action. “Parents don’t care what type of public school their child attends. They simply want access to a high-quality education, and it is promising to see so many supportive legislators win re-election despite unprecedented sums of money spent to unseat them.”

Charter public schools are a part of the solution to raising academic achievement and improving access to quality schools for all children in Illinois’ public education system. Many charter public schools have proven track records of higher academic growth, graduation rates, college enrollment, and college persistence. In Chicago, charter schools represent 8 of the top 10 highest performing open enrollment high schools on the ACT.

These results are a reflection of broad public support.  A recent independent poll by Public Opinion Strategies found that there is strong bipartisan support for charter public schools from all regions and demographics across the state. Seventy-five percent of Illinois voters support providing parents with public school choices, and 80% support giving students in low-performing schools a charter school option. In fact, 70% welcome charter schools to their community and strongly support policies that make it easier for charter public schools to open.

Key Races

HD26: Democrat Representative Christian Mitchell soundly defeated Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) endorsed candidate Jay Travis for the second time. INCS Action IC conducted direct mail expenditures and micro-targeted phone banks in support of Mitchell.

SD5: Senator Patricia Van Pelt trounced challenger Bob Fioretti in this Democrat primary by more than a 2:1 margin. INCS Action IC conducted direct mail expenditures and micro-targeted phone banks in support of Van Pelt.

HD29: Democrat Thaddeus Jones defeated challengers Will Tillman and Kenny Williams by receiving 65% of the overall vote. INCS Action IC conducted direct mail expenditures in support of Jones.

HD95: Republican Avery Bourne was victorious over candidates Dennis Scobbie and Christopher Hicks.  INCS Action IC conducted direct mail expenditures in support of Bourne.

HD102: Republican House Candidate Brad Halbrook defeated two candidates to win this open-seat being vacated by Representative Adam Brown. INCS Action PAC strongly supported Halbrook.

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About INCS Action
INCS Action and its affiliated organizations, INCS Action PAC and INCS Action IC, were created in 2014 with the mission to engage the charter school community in the legislative and political process, grow the coalition of charter public school supporters and activists, and educate Illinois public officials on the impact of charter public schools in the lives of families and in communities across the state. For more information on INCS Action, visit