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HomeIllinois NewsIllinois House passes bill to elect Chicago school board

Illinois House passes bill to elect Chicago school board




SPRINGFIELD – Only four state reps voted against creating an elected school board for the city of Chicago Thursday. State Rep. Rob Martwick's HB 557 passed the Illinois House at an 110-4 vote. 

Rep. Martwick initially filed legislation to move from an appointed to elected Chicago school board after seeing overwhelming resident support for the idea and in response to Chicago Public Schools' mounting financial problems.

If HB 557 were to become law, starting with the 2018 election, elected Chicago board members would serve one term of five years and then run for four-year terms in successive elections. The city would be divided into 20 districts drawn by the Legislature, with a board chair running citywide, for a total of 21 members on the new elected board.

Board members would be barred from having contracts with CPS. The legislation also outlines restrictions on some political contributions to school board candidates to avoid conflicts of interest.

“It will give to the residents and taxpayers, the parents, teachers and students of the city of Chicago a say in the future of their educational system,” Martwick said in a speech to the House floor while asking for support. “That is really the best reform I can think of. When democracy fails, the answer is not less democracy, it's more democracy. That's what we've done here today.”

HB 557 now heads to the Senate for consideration.


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  1. Illinois has the most elected officials of the 50 states with 43,000, yes 43,000 politicians in Illinois.
    With this bill we will have 43,021. Yes an increase of 21 more politicians. We need to limit the size, scope, and cost of government. This is not a solution to out failing schools.
    Better solutions include voucher, charter schools, private schools, right to work, and more accountability of teachers and administrators. Yes, less administrators would be good, we need teachers not more bureaucrats.

  2. Who will run the elections? Meaning,who supports candidates? Could it be community organizers,non profitsor other organizations making sure their chosen people get in?
    This is how the LSCs are done.

  3. Chicago is the only school district (and also the only community college district) without elected trustees.
    Mayoral appointments in Chicago have not served the students or taxpayers well.
    Ordinarily, I support smaller government and fewer elected officials, but there are time when that approach does not work (remember Pat Quinn’s Legislative Cutback Amendment to reduce the General Assembly? That backfired big time for everyone except Michael J. Madigan).
    If Chicago voters have the option to rise up and toss out school board members once every fifty years as opposed to having rubber stamps beholden to the mayor, an elected school board may still be worthwhile. This bill is worthwhile as a check on Rahm Emanuel.

  4. One more detail, few media folks are reporting but there are 6000 less students in the Chicago public schools compared to last year. Chicago has a decking population along with all over Illinois.
    Based on the decline in students sling, at least 12 schools should have been closed yet none were closed.
    Bottom line, we don’t need more politicians, we need better schools, I imagind another 6000 students wil not enroll next year too

  5. We have good teachers! Who is held accountable? If everyone else in the State of Illinois can have elected school boards, why not Chicago? The Barbara Byrd Bennett fiasco –the Rahm appointees had no issues with her & her scheme. An elected school board might have had a different outcome! Why don’t you trust the voters?

  6. This is a bad idea. With Springfield now being involved CPS elections it also means the tax payers of this state (You and I) will be on the hook for the debt caused by failed socialist policies (BTW there have never been any successful socialist policies). Chicago is in financial trouble due to its citizens reelecting the same corrupt politicians over and over again. Those of us who live outside the city should not be held responsible for their stupidity. Let’s face it, Chicago is the next Detroit thanks to its citizens not holding their elected officials accountable. It’s time for Chicago to go belly up. It’s going to be painful but this Democrat rot needs to be cut out not financially supported by the rest of the state. Unfortunately Illinois is also suffering from the same rot as Chicago.

  7. If no one works to get decent people elected the results will be the same as the status quo. I guess you don’t see the value in having an opportunity to change things. Take a look at the situation at the College of DuPage. One board member upset the entire apple cart of corruption.

  8. Perhaps, just perhaps, this bill is for the upcoming primary so State Reps from Chicago can go home and campaign saying they are for locally elected school boards and against an incredibly unpopular Mayor Rahm Emanuel? This was all about Speaker Madigan letting his caucus take an easy vote. Think about it.
    I’ll bet the bill never gets called for a vote in the Senate because Emanuel’s biggest ally is Senate President John Cullerton.

  9. ah another shill for charter schools –charter schools in Chicago play the system to the detriment of students not enrolled in charters. Charter schools ‘dump’ students they don’t want on the day after the size of their federal grant is determined – a grant based on the number of children enrolled the day before. Those children’s only option are the local public schools whose federal grant is not accounting for these additional children. The victims become the children, the local schools and the teachers.