CPZ 102821

SPRINGFIELD – To give parents and students in the Chicago Public Schools a stronger voice in how they operate, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) sponsored a measure to further empower Local School Councils (in Chicago while the Board of Education transitions to an elected school board.

“With the passage of the historic Chicago School Reform Act in 1988, Chicago Public Schools leads the nation in facilitating participatory democracy for students, community members and parents through the vehicle of Local School Councils,” Pacione-Zayas said. “By expanding student representation, restoring LSC powers, and transitioning appointed Local School Councils to elected bodies, we are providing greater inclusion and opportunity to increase equity to best serve local school communities.”

Currently, every CPS school is required to have an LSC to approve budgets and monitor school progress, including the performance of the school’s principal. The councils are made up of 12 voting members, except for schools serving grades 9 through 12, which have 15 members with the additional members being students of that school.

“This bill will make changes to the 30 year Illinois School Code that governs Local School Councils to further empower Black and Latino parents and students,” said Rod Wilson, the executive director, Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

Under the measure, Senate Bill 101, appointed LSCs will become elected, LSC powers will be restored for schools on probation more than five years, student elections will be binding, and the vetting process for staff members will be more transparent. The legislation also addresses a timeline for schools on probation.

“This legislation will also require LSCs of high schools with 7th and 8th grade students to include a student member from one of those grade levels,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jaime Andrade, the House sponsor of the measure. “I am particularly proud of this expansion of student voice in this bill as I have previously worked to create more opportunities for youth leadership on LSCs through affording 17 year olds the ability to run for community representative seats.”

 “The measure represents CPS’ commitment to working with community members and ensuring that the democratically-elected bodies representing each of the District’s schools has a fair voice,” said Tito Quiñones, Director of State Legislative Affairs at CPS. “It also reflects the District's respect for the decisions made by parents, staff members and students about the direction of their schools. I look forward to our continued collaboration to improve the effectiveness of LSCs and to uplift student and family voices.”

SB 101 passed the Senate and now awaits final approval by the governor. It becomes law immediately upon being signed.