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More courses to be available to students with limited options

lightford-courseoptionsSPRINGFIELD – Students in school districts with limited course options may soon be able to access a wider variety of courses thanks to legislation pushed through the Senate by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood). The option of taking classes from an outside authorized provider would be available to students who can demonstrate an impediment to being able to take another course at school or participate in another academic activity.

“A student’s potential should not be limited by his or her ZIP code,” said Sen. Lightford. “The courses available to students in one area of the state should be available to students everywhere to ensure we are giving all our young people the most comprehensive education possible. Equality of opportunity at the high school level now will lead to more equitable opportunity as the next generation applies for college and enters the workforce tomorrow.”  

Starting with the 2016-17 school year, qualifying juniors and seniors would be allowed to take up to two of these special courses a semester. By the 2018-19 school year, all qualifying high school students would be able to enroll.

Under this prospective law, the State Board would authorize course providers who meet a specific set of criteria for a period of three years, and the Board would also maintain a public catalog of courses available for students. The cost of each course would be negotiated between the provider and the State Board, which would transfer course payments to the provider on behalf of the responsible school district.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1679, now goes to the House for consideration.

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District


Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Charter Schools (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: B.A. in Communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in Public Administration, University of Illinois Springfield; former Village of Maywood trustee; former employee at Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her family.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch