More hearings on Chicago school board maps

The Illinois General Assembly’s spring session is scheduled to end May 19th, and there is a deadline of July 1, 2023 to have a map dividing the city into districts to elect members to the Chicago Board of Education starting next year.

The first elections of ten members of a 21-member in total board are to be held in November 2024; the remaining members would initially be appointed, and then those seats too would be elected in November 2026. From what we understand, the two chambers are each drawing up maps and then resolving their differences and disagreements to create a single map that will need to pass both bodies.

The Senate created a special committee and held five hearings earlier this month. The hearings in the House will be subject-matter hearings of the House Executive Committee.

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Hearings on district map for elected representative school board for Chicago

In November 2024, Chicago’s first (ever) election for the Board of Education will be held. Ten of twenty-one seats will be elected; the remaining eleven appointed by the Mayor. The board will be fully elected starting in November 2026.

As you know, a large coalition, including IL-FPS, worked for over a decade to bring an elected representative school board to the city of Chicago. In the spring of 2021, the General Assembly finally passed a bill granting Chicagoans an elected school board, albeit with a four-year delayed start, followed by two years of a hybrid board still under mayoral control.

The General Assembly initially set a deadline of February 2022 to draw the district map, but only began the work of laying out this map very recently to meet a revised deadline of July 1, 2023 . As part of the process, the Illinois Senate has established a special committee about the elected board and is holding a series of subject-matter hearings on districting.

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Wins at the polls for pro-'Public Schools For All' candidates

Last Tuesday’s local elections were important ones for public schools around the state. Although initial vote tabulation is not completely finished even now, on the whole, results look good for candidates running in support of strong public schools that serve all kids. 

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It's Election Eve. Here's what you need to know before you vote.

Tomorrow, Tuesday April 4th, is Election Day all across Illinois, including in Chicago. 

These local elections are crucial ones for our public schools in Chicago and in dozens of districts around the state: Will we continue to have strong public schools committed to serving all our children? 

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School board elections are April 4th: Research before you vote!

In all districts aside from Chicago, local school board elections will be held on April 4, 2023. School board races are critical for how education is shaped at the most local level in Illinois because through their policy and spending decisions, local boards can make a huge impact. Unfortunately, school board races in many districts are now proxy wars for bigger forces, and voters must do their research before heading to their polls. 

We need school board members who will tackle the real problems schools face—lack of funding, mental health supports, services for students with disabilities, the teacher shortage—and are looking for solutions that can benefit all the students in a district.

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DeVos backing Vallas in Chicago mayor's race & other voucher-related news

On Wednesday night, IL-FPS broke the news that Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education under former (and now indicted) President Trump, was spending thousands in the mayoral race in support of Paul Vallas. 

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MEDIA RELEASE: Paul Vallas Lies about Support, Connections with Trump Secretary of Ed Betsy DeVos

CHICAGO — Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is falsely denying his connections to former President Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and an Illinois Super PAC that DeVos funds.

[full press release after the jump]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Betsy DeVos’ Super PAC Spending Thousands To Elect Paul Vallas Mayor Of Chicago

CHICAGO — Last week ex-President Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a $59,000 independent expenditure in support of mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’ campaign from a Super PAC she funds, the Illinois Federation for Children PAC.

The Illinois Federation for Children PAC was established in March 2022 and has received $465,000 in total from DeVos’ American Federation for Children Action Fund, a national 527 PAC. The Illinois Federation PAC’s chair, Nathan Hoffman, was a registered contract lobbyist in Springfield for the American Federation for Children until January this year.

[full press release after the jump]

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COMUNICADO DE PRENSA: El Super PAC de Betsy DeVos gasta miles para elegir a Paul Vallas alcalde de Chicago

CHICAGO — La semana pasada, la ex secretaria de Educación del ex presidente Trump, Betsy DeVos, realizó un gasto independiente de $59.000 dólares en apoyo de la campaña del candidato a la alcaldía Paul Vallas de un Súper PAC que financia, la Federación de Illinois para Niños PAC.

El PAC de la Federación de Illinois para Niños se estableció en marzo de 2022 y ha recibido $465.000 en total del Fondo de Acción de la Federación Americana para Niños de DeVos, un PAC nacional 527 financiada por Devos y su esposo. El presidente del PAC de la Federación de Illinois, Nathan Hoffman, fue un lobbista contratado registrado en Springfield para la Federación Americana de Niños hasta enero de este año.

[comunicado de prensa completo después del salto]

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Action Alert: Witness slips need to OPPOSE creation of new voucher scheme in IL - HB1573

Update: This bill was not heard on March 28th, and no vote was taken. It has a deadline extension through the end of spring session. We'll be keeping an eye on it.

Illinois Families for Public Schools is in Springfield today talking to legislators about our legislative agenda, including urging them to ensure that the existing Invest in Kids voucher program endsUnfortunately, a bill to create an even larger, less regulated voucher scheme is in hearing this afternoon, HB 1573, the Education Savings Account Act. 

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