Nineteen charter schools operated by Concept Schools in three states, including Illinois, were raided by federal officials earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.
Concept charter schools in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio were searched on June 4 as part of an “ongoing white-collar crime matter,” Cleveland-based FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told the newspaper.
The search warrants are currently sealed, and additional information about the case has not been released. In addition to the FBI, officials from the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission helped with the raids.
Concepts Schools is a Des Plaines-based charter school operator with Turkish roots and connections to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago). Concept operates three charter schools in Chicago. It also runs one school in Peoria.
Last year, the Illinois State Charter School Commission, an independent charter authority the state legislature created back in 2011, overruled the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) charter application denials for two charter Concept Schools. The commission’s decision paved the way for Concept to open two new locations in Chicago despite objections from CPS.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Education at its January meeting gave Concept Schools the OK to open two additional charter schools in the city. When those recently-approved schools open, Concept will have a total of five campuses in Chicago.