The Illinois House voted 110 to 4 in favor of electing the members of the Chicago Board of Education, rather than having the mayor pick them.
If passed into law, the bill would create a 21-member board elected by residents across the city. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long resisted the idea of an elected school board, saying it would lead to more politics and special interests in public education.
There were questions during the debate on the House floor about whether members of the Chicago Teachers Union or employees of businesses that hold contracts with Chicago Public Schools would be eligible to run. Rep. Rob Martwick (D-Chicago) said they could not.
Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, congratulated Martwick on getting a deal done amid the current gridlock in Springfield.
“If we’re going to have a compromise, you have to talk to each other and that’s exactly what this sponsor did,” Sandack said.
House Speaker Michael Madigan voted in favor of having an elected school board in Chicago, but House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn-Currie did not.
The bill now moves on to the Illinois Senate where it’s unclear if it will be called for a vote. The chief sponsor is Senate President John Cullerton, a close ally of Mayor Emanuel.
Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her @WBEZeducation.