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Elected School Board Approved By Illinois House — Again

 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 approved Thursday by the Illinois House by a vote of 105-9.

The measure would end Mayor Rahm Emanuel's control of the Chicago Board of Education in 2023. It now heads to the Illinois Senate.

A similar measure passed the Illinois House in March 2016 on a 110-4 vote, but never came to a vote in the Illinois Senate.

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

State Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Jefferson Park), who has been pushing the measure, has said the lack of an elected School Board has "eliminated democracy in Chicago."

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.

Rauner's office declined to comment Thursday on the vote of the Illinois House.

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.