State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) presented legislation establishing an elected Chicago school board in today’s Senate Education Committee.
House Bill 557 passed the House in March with overwhelming bipartisan support. Over the objection of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senator Raoul pushed yesterday for the legislation to be heard in committee today.
“The legislation at hand is far too important to not be heard,” Raoul said. “We can all agree that CPS needs reforms and the best way to reach a solution is to continue conversation.”
Raoul took time to hold hearings and work with parents and stakeholders to discuss some potential issues with the legislation. An amendment to the legislation reduced the proposed number of board members from 21 to 15 and a run-off provision was added.
“An elected school board would be a step in the right direction for a school district in need of much reform that has shut parents out of the decision-making process for far too long,” Raoul said.
Members of the Education Committee voiced concerns about the legislation as written but gave clear indications they were willing to support the initiative once those concerns are addressed. Senator Raoul vowed to continue working to adjust the proposal and revisit the issue in the future.
“I appreciate my colleagues’ concerns and I look forward to bringing back a proposal that addresses them,” Raoul said.