More parents and community residents are running for seats on local school councils compared to the last two elections. Overall, 260 more people signed up at close to 600 Chicago public schools.

A late decision by CPS officials to extend the sign-up deadline by an extra month helped boost this year’s totals, says Andy Wade of the Chicago School Leadership Cooperative.

The increase in the number of candidate comes despite a ten-year low in private contributions for LSC recruitment. Private donations for such efforts have varied widely from year-to-year, setting a high in 1991 of $750,000.

This year, however, many donors opted instead to build up a new endowment fund for LSC elections that would provide steady funding for council races beginning in 2004. The goal is $1.2 million; so far, $600,000 has been raised, says Janet Knupp of the Chicago Education Fund.

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