We agree with concerns publicly raised about the costs of elections and the appropriate representation. That’s why we support HB 2908 and SB 2497, elected school board bills that have districts where regular people can campaign door to door, get to know their potential constituents and truly represent their communities. Smaller districts result in elections that cost less to be competitive. Districts, rather than citywide elections, ensure that not just big-money candidates win, and that constituents can get to know their elected representative. A larger board ensures Chicago’s diversity is represented and respected rather than rejected. DuPage County has roughly one-third the population of Chicago, yet its county board has 19 members. The proposal put forth by HB 2908/SB 2497 is not extreme.
Finally, we also agree that all families we serve should have an opportunity to vote in school board elections. Schools are the sites of government that interact with more people than any other government body. Because non-citizens live across Illinois, that opportunity should be provided across the state. Once an elected school board in Chicago is passed, we will work to pass SB 1565, to ensure non-citizens can vote in school board elections. Nothing in federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in state and local elections. Non-citizen voting already occurs in Maryland and San Francisco, for instance, and prior to the 1920s, non-citizen voting existed in Illinois, as well. For those advocating for a voice for all parents, we suggest you endorse the existing legislation in SB 1565.
The time is now to pass a fully elected and representative school board to give all residents, and especially parents, the right to choose who will make decisions for their school district.
Aldermen Michael Rodriguez, 22nd Ward; Silvana Tabares, 23rd; Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, 33rd; and Andre Vasquez, 40th