SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Martwick’s (D-Chicago) legislation that would create an elected Chicago Board of Education, starting with the 2022 primary election, passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.
“This democratic step will allow the people of Chicago to vote on the school board members who make important decisions about their children’s future,” Martwick said. “Chicago parents deserve to take more control over the leaders in charge of their kids.”
Martwick’s legislation would create 20 school board member districts in order to ensure diversity and limit the influence of money on elections, while the board president would be elected at large. The board would initially be elected in the 2023 consolidated election for four-year terms.
Vacancies on the board would be filled by appointment of the board. If the board fails to make an appointment, then the mayor would have appointment authority.
No member of the board would be allowed to be an employee or owner of a company with a contract with the school district, and members or employees of the board could not accept employment with any entity he or she participated in awarding a contract to. Employees of the school district would also be ineligible to serve on the board.
The legislation also transfers the appointment of an inspector general for Chicago Public Schools from the mayor to the elected board, still with advice and consent of the city council.
“Every other school district in the state has an elected board,” Martwick said. “Chicago Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, and we should have that same direct say in how it’s managed.”
Senate Bill 2497 now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.