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  • Illinois Staff

Buckner Backs Accountable, Elected School Board for Chicago Families

Jun 17, 2021 | Buckner

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be led by an accountable, elected school board under legislation passed by state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, transitioning CPS from an appointed school board to one that answers to parents and taxpayers.

“Chicago students and their families have lived for far too long under a school system run by people accountable to political insiders. Today, that begins to change,” Buckner said. “An elected school board will be accountable to Chicago families, who will be able to vote on their representation for operating city schools and providing a diverse, well-rounded education to the children of Chicago.” Buckner sponsored House Bill 2908, which passed the House on Wednesday. The measure will transition the CPS school board from a mayoral-appointed board to a fully elected board that is selected on a nonpartisan basis. The transition period will see CPS adopt a hybrid board featuring some elected members and some appointed members before becoming fully elected after the 2026 general election. Under Buckner’s legislation, 2024 will be the first year in which Chicago parents and families will be able to elect school board representatives, with 10 of 21 seats up for election.

Additionally, 10 seats will be appointed by the mayor with the consent of the Chicago City Council, as will the president of the board. After the transition to a fully elected school board, there will be 20 seats elected by districts and a board president elected citywide. HB 2908 includes additional accountability measures including an independent financial review of CPS, restrictions on CPS employees serving on the board, and provisions to prevent self-dealing in contracts by board members.

“An elected school board for CPS is not just a matter of accountability to parents, students, and families, it is a matter of equity for communities that CPS has left behind,” Buckner said. “Instead of a school board accountable to political insiders, communities across the city will have a school board that represents their neighborhoods and makes sure the needs of students and parents are put first.”

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