Less than a week before an extended deadline for Local School Council nominations passes, advocacy groups are scrambling to get parents signed up.
The original filing deadline for 6,000 LSC spots was March 12. Approximately 5,500 parents and community representatives filed nomination forms, says Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education.
Today, that number stands at 6,000, says Jose Alvarez, chief
officer for Chicago Public Schools Office of Local School Council
Relations. CPS was expecting 8,500 nominations.
The pool of candidates is not large enough to fill all of
the city's Local School Council positions. According to a list compiled by PURE, 59
schools did not have enough candidates to form a council for the new
two-year period which begins July 1.
That list is on PURE's website. It includes Copernicus Elementary, a school designated for turnaround status by CPS; Abbott Elementary, which escaped consolidation last month at the recommendation of a public-hearing officer; and Marshall, Hancock and Harlan high schools. Most of the 59 schools had no parents or community representatives file nomination forms on time; seven others had just one parent signed up.
In 2006, 7,000 candidates ran for 6,000 spots.
PURE members have been on a recruiting campaign this month, on the phone and in person, to get LSC candidates lined up. Wednesday, PURE and the South Austin Coalition Community Council held an "LSC 101" class, with the intent of giving an overview of LSCs and signing up candidates.
If a school has no council, Woestehoff says, "It effectively turns the LSC's power over to the CPS office."
The PURE office at 100 S. Morgan St., will accept nomination forms
until 2 p.m. Monday, at which time it will deliver them to the CPS
Central Office. Nomination forms are also posted on the CPS
said nominations will also be accepted Monday at schools.
LCS election forums are scheduled to begin March 26. Elections
will be held April 16 for high school LSCs and April 17 for
elementary school LSCs.
Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.