Local School Councils in Chicago
There are 59 Illinois State Senators. There are 118 Illinois State Representatives. There are over 4,000 elected local school council seats in Chicago, making it one of the largest (maybe the largest) body of elected officials in the country.
If you live in Chicago, getting involved in the local school councils - or LSCs - in your neighborhood is an important way to help improve public education.
LSCs are somewhat like mini-elected school boards. Almost every public school in Chicago has one. LSCs have 12 or 13 total seats (depending on if the school is elementary or high school). Parents and residents are eligible to vote for eight of the seats on their local LSCs, and CPS appoints the rest. LSCs make critical policy decisions:
- Approving the school based academic plan (CIWP);
- Approving the alignment of budgetary resources to the CIWP;
- Engaging in the annual evaluation of the contract principal’s professional practices; and
- Selecting or renewing contract principals.
On one hand, the LSC structure represents a deep commitment to community voice to school governance. On the other hand, it raises questions about equity and whether LSC members and the schools they serve have the supports necessary for a high-quality education to all students. Any elected school board structure must take into account issues of equity including fair representation of community voice through LSCs.
There are many opportunities to stand for children when it comes to LSCs. Offer your help to your neighborhood LSC. Vote in the April 2020 LSC elections (you do not have to be a registered voter but there are other eligibility rules). Consider even running for office. Many Stand members serve on LSCs, and we can include you in upcoming LSC networking events.
CPS provides support and technical assistance to LSCs. Call the CPS LSC office at 773-553-1400.