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Push For Elected Chicago School Board Begins — Again

By Heather Cherone | February 10, 2017 2:15pm | Updated on February 13, 2017 8:18am
 Elected School Board protest.
Elected School Board protest.
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Chicago Teachers Union/CTUNet

CHICAGO — Chicagoans would be represented by an elected — not appointed — School Board, under a measure introduced — again — in the Illinois House.

Although a bill that would have ended Mayor Rahm Emanuel's control of the Chicago Board of Education passed the Illinois House in March on a 110-4 vote, the measure never came to a vote in the Illinois Senate.

State Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Jefferson Park) said Thursday that he had reintroduced the bill — which also requires the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees to be elected.

In 2015, Chicago overwhelmingly voted for a nonbinding referendum pushed by leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union, who called the absence of an elected School Board the "most pressing civil rights issue" in Chicago.

Martwick has said the lack of an elected School Board has "eliminated democracy in Chicago."

In November, Chicago Public Schools officials testified against the bill at a Senate hearing.

The bill must be signed into law by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who said in September that he opposed efforts to overturn the 1995 law giving Chicago's mayor control of the school district.

During his 2015 re-election campaign for mayor, Emanuel opposed the push for an elected School Board, saying since local school councils are picked by voters, Chicagoans' voices are heard.