Chicago Public Schools is looking for nearly 2,000 parents and community representatives to stand for upcoming local school council elections.
The councils are like mini school boards at Chicago public schools. They hire and fire principals and get a say over curriculum and budgets. Strong councils have been credited with improving dozens of schools.
The councils give Chicago parents more power than parents have in any other big-city school district. But there are still 1,885 parent or community representative seats that need to be filled.
CPS created a map showing where those vacancies are.
“You can see where candidates exist, you can see where there are openings and it’s just another way to say, ‘Hey, let’s get involved and work together and make our schools better,’” said Robyn Ziegler, spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools .
The district’s numbers show that as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, 1,395 parents are still needed to serve on councils at 359 schools, and 490 community representatives are needed at 302 schools. And that’s just to fill vacant seats—not to have a contested election.
Parents can serve at their children’s school. Chicago residents can serve at nearby neighborhood schools. The deadline to sign up is 3 p.m. Friday.
Activists have criticized the school district for eroding the power of councils and thus stymieing efforts to recruit candidates to serve. Councils at schools on probation—which number in the hundreds—have weakened authority. Many new schools and turnaround schools where all staff has been replaced have advisory councils only.