Citywide Hearings Will Also Take Place to Gather Information and Feedback

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus today launched an online map making portal to encourage public participation in the creation of new Chicago elected school board districts. The portal will allow the public to draw and submit proposed district boundaries as legislators seek to gather input on mapmaking from across the city’s diverse communities.

The portal can be accessed at www.ilsenateredistricting.com. All maps submitted through the portal will be reviewed as part of the public record. In addition, a newly-convened Special Committee on the Chicago Elected Representative School Board will conduct citywide hearings to gather information and ideas from a wide variety of stakeholders including parents, education advocates and community groups.

“Transitioning the Chicago Board of Education from an appointed to an elected body is about empowering families with the ability to decide what is best for their children, especially Black, Latinx and minority students who are too often left behind,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, who is serving as Chair of the committee. “It’s vital that the leadership of our state’s largest school district reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods, and it’s important residents know they can have a say in this process right now.”

The General Assembly faces a July 1 deadline to draw Chicago school board districts, which must be consistent with the Illinois Voting Rights Act. That law ensures districts are crafted in a way that preserves clusters of minority voters if they are of size or cohesion to exert collective electoral power.

Currently appointed by the mayor, the Chicago Board of Education will transition to become fully-elected over the course of a two-year hybrid period.

During the November 2024 election, ten members of the Chicago Board of Education will be elected by voters, and ten members and the board president will be appointed by the mayor. Elected members will serve four-year terms, while appointed members, including the appointed board president, will serve two-year terms. The board will become fully-elected after the November 2026 general election, when the number of electoral districts will expand from 10 districts to 20 districts.

“Chicago will no longer be the only city in Illinois with a school board appointed by the mayor,” said Sen. Robert Martwick, who sponsored the legislation creating an elected school board in Chicago. “Parents will finally have a say in how their kids’ schools are run, starting with how these new school board districts are crafted. It’s exciting to begin this new era of community-led education.”

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