Chicago Public School Leaders Seek Governance Changes

Tracy Dell’Angela:

For the second time in a decade, Chicago Public Schools leaders are making a push in Springfield to restrict the power of local school councils to hire and fire principals.
Board President Rufus Williams and other district leaders met with key legislators last week to discuss possible changes to the 1995 School Reform Act, which gave these elected councils of parents and community members broad authority to approve school budgets and select principals. The district wants councils to get approval from the central administration before firing a principal—a movecouncil advocates denounced as a power grab.
Valencia Rias, a director with the reform advocacy group Designs for Change, decried the legislative maneuver during the public comment segment of the Board of Education meeting Wednesday.
“You are trying to gut the power of 575 [local school councils] . . .because of what happened with one LSC,” said Rias, referring to the recent controversy over the council firing of the popular principal at Curie Metropolitan High School. “No one wants to have $110,000 contracts handed out by this board, by the mayor of this city.”