CPS map showing LSCs with vacancies in red, two weeks before the April 2014 election Credit: CPS.edu

Then – 1989

The first Local School Council (LSC) elections are held in 1989, with 17,256 candidates running for 5,420 seats; and 227,622 voters weighing in. The Legislature gave significant authority to parents, community members and teachers by investing them with the power of principal selection and some budgetary control. Just two years later, following a drop in philanthropic support, the second LSC election saw a big drop-off in the number of candidates (8,173) and voters (161,000). Over the years, their power has been diminished by lack of training, erosion of their authority, and lack of parental and community interest. Filing deadlines are routinely extended when insufficient candidates apply to fill all of the LSC seats.

See Where councils lost ground,Catalyst August 2005


The loud push for an elected school board has some worried that LSCs will be further undermined. Last year, a third of schools had insufficient parents to fill the seats, and many did not have contested elections.

See In push for elected School Board, don’t forget local school councils, Catalyst December 2012; Most schools still lack candidates for local school council elections, Catalyst March 2014; and WBEZ’s Local School Council Elections Attract 4384 Parent and Community Members as Candidates


Mayor Emanuel promises to strengthen LSCs if re-elected. How? By partnering with community organizations to increase the number of candidates, and instructing CPS to provide additional training and tools — methods used previously with moderate success. Chuy Garcia’s official website is silent on LSCs, but a Facebook page invites LSC members to endorse him.

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