Elections for Local School Councils at Chicago public schools kicked off Monday.
More than 6,300 candidates are competing for LSC spots at 513 elementary and high schools in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district.
Voting starts Monday for elementary schools and Tuesday for high schools. There is an LSC that monitors each district-run school, and it is in charge of hiring and firing the school’s principal, among other duties.
Chicago charter schools are not mandated to have an elected LSC. There is, however, pending state legislation sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) that looks to make the councils a requirement at charter schools. The Illinois Network of Charter Schools is against the measure.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a handful of candidates vying for an LSC spot are educators at charter schools, while another three LSC hopefuls work for the state's charter school network. Others on the candidate list include Rod Sierra, a former Chicago Board of Education member, and two individuals who were previously employed in the mayor's office. The newspaper reports that a “do not vote” list containing the names of the above mentioned candidates and some others has been flying around social media, blasting the individuals for being aligned with efforts to expand charter schools in the city.
Andrew Broy with the Illinois Network of Charter Schools pushed back, saying the LSC candidate concerns are "much ado about nothing.”
“People think it’s a nefarious plot. The staff is deeply committed to public schools,” he told the newspaper, adding that he tutors "at DePriest Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side near my home. Is that nefarious?”
Michael Brunson, recording secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union, noted that there is a common desire for “some type of empowerment in the school in your community, or in the school where your children attend or where you work."
“On the other hand, it could be somewhat cynical,” he told the newspaper. “Are they going in there to undermine the process or what?”
“If these people in the charter school movement see the importance of that local empowerment of the community and the parents and the teachers, why don’t they duplicate it within their own schools,” Brunson asked.