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Meeks Takes a Hit at Local School Councils

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Illinois State Senator James Meeks wants to strip Chicago ‘s local school councils of their power.

Local school councils are like mini-school boards that have governed key decisions at Chicago schools for the last 20 years.

The elected, parent-majority councils hire and fire principals and control part of a school’s budget.

A new bill by Meeks would make the councils advisory.

MEEKS: Every time I meet with officials from CPS and talk about schools and how we can improve them, the first thing they say to me is that they don’t select principals.

The councils have been credited with opening schools to more parent involvement. A new book by the University of Chicago finds that many schools have made significant gains under the councils.

But some have become mired in personal politics.

In a statement, CPS says it looks forward to reviewing the legislation.

Meeks has another bill pending: it would give Chicago an elected school board. Mayor Richard Daley currently appoints all board members and the district’s CEO.

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