An elected Chicago School Board may become reality…eventually

Date: 
04/05/2019
RMartwick

Robert Martwick

In a vote of 110 to 2, the Illinois House is sending a bill on a journey to Governor Pritzker's desk to replace the appointed Chicago Public School (CPS) Board with an elected one. 

Under this Bill beginning in 2023, the 7-person appointed board would be replaced with a 20-person board elected from across all the City's districts. Its president would be elected city wide. Initially the Illinois General Assembly would determine the district boundaries. 

The Bill's sponsor is Illinois State Representative, 19th District, Robert Martwick who has been working for an elected Chicago school board for several years. 

“It’s a massive change,” Martwick, told the Chicago Tribune. “Remember, there’s never been an elected school board in the city of Chicago. Given the size and complexity of the Chicago Public Schools and the politics of Chicago, we want to make sure we have an opportunity to review.” 

Lightfoot

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot

Today Lightfoot said to the Chicago Tribune, '“I don’t favor that bill at all, because it has too many members and does not specify requirements to serve on the board.

“I want actual parents to be able to sit on that board, and if we treat it like another political body, that’s not going to happen and that to me is absolutely untenable and a nonstarter.

“I favor a situation where we have people who have come through the (Local School Council) process, because they have skin in the game. That means they’re probably a parent. They’ve been able to make and meet budgets. They have some expertise in doing hiring. I think all those things are very valuable skills that will help inform a school board.”' 

RYHCC

Cassie Creswell (r) 

Pointing out that there are more steps in the process to make an elected a reality, Cassie Creswell, President, Raise Your Hand Action, says, "This has passed the House three times but only in the Senate once and then that was held up.

"I believe that there can be a comprise between the two Houses but everyone needs to call their State Senator demanding an elected school board."

With Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B. Pritzker in favor of an elected Board along with the May 20 departure of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, many believe that an elected school will happen. However, it may not be this Martwick sponsored bill.

Photos by Elaine A. Coorens

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