State Senator Raoul discusses elected school boardParents interested in bringing an elected school board to Chicago had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns this week with State Senator Kwame Raoul, who is sponsoring such a proposal.

Currently, the Chicago board is appointed by the mayor and many residents feel left out of the decision-making process.

Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, is the sponsor of elected school board legislation, House Bill 557, currently pending in the Senate that previously won House approval. As the House passed it, the Chicago school board would consist of 21 members, one of which would be elected at-large.

The initial board would be elected during the general primary election in March 2018 and would serve a five-year term. Successors would serve four-year terms and be elected during the consolidated elections beginning in April 2023.

Town hall attendees voiced their issues with the legislation and received clarification on some of the details.

Raoul discussed plans to amend the legislation to alleviate some of the concerns he shares with the parents and other stakeholders. This would include reducing the board to 15 members to bring it more in line with other major school boards across the country and including a run-off provision that would put the two highest vote earners head-to-head.

Raoul anticipates a hearing on the legislation when the Senate returns for its fall session later this month.