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Campaign Launched for Elected Chicago Board of Education

Tue, Oct 21, 2014

A coalition of parents, teachers and community organizations launched a campaign October 13 for a city-wide referendum on February’s ballot asking voters to endorse an elected Chicago School Board.

The referendum drive is being sponsored by a coalition of community, parent and labor groups, including the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), Communities Organized for Democracy in Education (CODE), Grassroots Illinois Action (GIA) and United Working Families (UFW).

The venue for the referendum press conference was McNair School, 4820 W. Walton St., which had been on academic probation for 14 years, according to Medill News Service. On July 1, McNair was turned over to the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which means that the principal as well as existing faculty and staff were replaced with workers chosen by the privately run organization.

Supporters of the referendum say in prepared material that Chicago is one of few cities in Illinois where voters do not elect the school board. A change in state law would be needed to create an elected school board and the referendum would provide the needed push, they say.

According to Progress Illinois, only three city-wide referenda can be on the ballot at a time. On October 8, the Chicago City Council approved three other ballot questions involving private-sector paid sick time for employees, whether public finances could be used for elections and whether city employees convicted of domestic violence should have to obtain treatment.

–Suzanne Hanney, from prepared materials

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