Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Candidates Split on Elected School Board Proposal




    There's no consensus from Chicago's major mayoral candidates on a group's request to have the board of Chicago Public Schools elected by the citizens rather than appointed by the mayor.

    Explains the Chicago Sun-Times:

      The group called for a change in state law that would create an elected school board comprised of three parents or community members from the South Side and two each from the North and West sides. Two teachers, one administrator, one "academic," one school "paraprofessional" -- such as a school clerk -- and one "business" person also would be elected to sit on the board.

    Among those opposed to the idea of a 13-member board that's geographically representative of the city is Gery Chico, who once served as the Chicago Board of Education's president.

    "We ought to have a mayor singularly accountable, along with a president, CEO and chief education officer," he said Wednesday. 

    He and Rahm Emanuel said they feared having the board chosen through an election would needlessly politicize Chicago's education system.

    In a statement, an Emanuel spokesman said the candidate "does not believe the school board selection process should be politicized while we are working to turn the system around, but he believes teachers must be represented on the board and would ensure that they were if he has the privilege of serving as mayor."

    From the Chicago Tribune:

      City Clerk Miguel del Valle said he supports the “eventual transition” to an elected school board, but said in order for it to be effective, the city needs to implement public financing of political campaigns. He also said there should be provisions in the law to guarantee the mayor has some accountability for the condition of the schools.

    U.S. Rep. Danny Davis is warm to the idea of elected officials, but doesn't necessarily support the idea put forth by the group.

    "People all over America have elected school boards. It’s the norm. What has to be so different about Chicago?" he said. 

    A spokesman for Carol Moseley Braun's campaign said she fully supports keeping CPS' governing body in control of the mayor.