April 1, 2024

Advocates Unveil Groundbreaking Petition and Call On Chicago Teachers Union to Support School Board Compensation

Chicago, IL – As enthusiasm builds for Senator Robert Martwick’s bill (SB2610) that would allow for modest compensation of Chicago’s newly elected school board members, a coalition of community leaders, educators, parents, and organizations issued a resounding call to support the measure today. Educators for Excellence-Chicago, Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting (IAAFER), Kids First Chicago, and a broader group of diverse stakeholders across the city launched a petition urging the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to publicly support SB2610 and advocate for fair compensation of school board service. School board members govern the district’s $9 billion budget, 33,000 employees, and 325,000 students – a considerable responsibility that would normally be compensated in comparably elected positions.

“Uncompensated positions are a massive barrier to so many qualified school board candidates in our city, which inherently leads to an exclusionary and unrepresentative board,” said Corrina Demma, an organizer with Educators for Excellence-Chicago. “We’re hopeful that CTU will join us today in ensuring that the most essential stakeholders, especially the educators they represent, can afford to run and serve by supporting modest compensation. This is not a small volunteer position.”

Advocates say that the modest compensation of school board members is also an issue of equity for the Chicago community.

“The legislation promotes equity by addressing one of the largest barriers to participation in public service,” said Valerie F. Leonard, Co-Founder, Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting. “CTU has been instrumental in working with the General Assembly to get the Elected Representative School Board legislation signed into law. We hope they will build on this momentum and join us in publicly supporting compensation for school board members. This is essential if we desire equitable and diverse representation.”

Consuelo Martinez, parent advocate with Kids First Chicago and Local School Council member at Back of the Yards High School and Ray Graham Training Center High School, further highlighted that school board compensation is necessary to ensure the newly elected school board is equitable, functional, and accessible. It’s not just what parents want; it’s what the majority of Chicago has overwhelmingly called for.

“A recent Kids First Chicago poll found that more than 70% of Chicago voters believe that elected school board members should receive some sort of compensation for serving on the board,” said Martinez. “Compensation allows those who intimately understand our students – whether it’s parents or educators – to actively participate in shaping the policies that affect our schools.”

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Advocates Unveil Groundbreaking Petition and Call On Chicago Teachers Union to Support School Board Compensation