Illinois’ official virtual learning provider is closing after 20 years

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A virtual learning program based in Peoria is set to close its doors for good.

In a statement sent to WMBD, officials with the Illinois Virtual School (IVS) announced the school will be closing on June 22, 2022. IVS has been operating as the official supplemental virtual learning provider of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) since 2001.

IVS Regional Superintendent Beth Crider said ISBE moved to a course catalog model on Jan. 1, 2020, which eliminated the annual grant that operates the school.

“As a non-profit entity, the elimination of the grant and the move to the course catalog model is not sustainable for business operations,” said Crider.

IVS’s final term will happen from Jan. 11 to May 13 in 2022. The school will also continue to offer semester two classes for all full-year course offerings.

The last day to enroll and start a credit recovery course will be Nov. 15.

While summer offerings will not be an option next year, Crider said each course will continue to have highly qualified teachers and platforms through the end of the school year.

IVS Director Kip Pygman previously said in August 2020, the school saw a 107% increase in enrollment. He said administrators had to hire 30 additional part-time teachers to help educate the newly enrolled students.

Pygman said IVS used to be the only official state-supplemented virtual school. In January, the state offered parents the option of multiple virtual schools, which in turn cut all of IVS’s public funding — a 40% loss to the school’s operating budget.

“There was a solution readily available to serve and support our communities that was built on taxpayer dollars for the last 20 years that, unfortunately, was not leveraged by our state’s leaders,” Pygman said.

After losing public funding at the beginning of the 2021 calendar year, IVS needed to raise tuition fees and lower teacher pay just to stay in operation.

Those who have questions about the closing of IVS can contact Beth Crider at bcrider@peoriaroe.org or (309) 672-6909.

Those with questions regarding January enrollment can contact IVS at (309) 676-1000 or email ivshelp@ilvirtual.org.

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