November 7, 2023

Illinois Lawmakers Propose Bill That Excludes Half of Chicago Voters from 2024 School Board Election

November 7 (Chicago) – After proposing a 20-district school board district map last week, Illinois lawmakers introduced legislation that would forbid roughly half of Chicago residents from voting for school board members in 2024. While voters residing in odd-numbered districts would have the ability to elect school board members in 2024, those living in even-numbered districts would be denied voting access until 2026. The state legislature could vote on the proposal during this week’s veto session.

“On a day where so many states are engaging in free and fair elections, Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation that excludes half of voters from the decisions that impact their children and school system,” said Courtney Hrejsa, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Chicago. “It’s disappointing that elected officials are having such a difficult time coming up with a solution, when the solution exists in the original legislation – the law only calls for a map with ten districts.”

Advocates say that a map with ten districts would quickly resolve the issues with the proposal. 

“Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting have already offered a ten-district map that accurately reflects the Chicago population and enables everyone to have a voice in the first 2024 election,” said Hrejsa. “With the veto session this week and the first election in 2024, we can’t afford for lawmakers to waste time with undemocratic, unequal, and likely unconstitutional proposals.”

While some lawmakers have suggested that this proposal will improve representation, advocates say the opposite is true. 

“We can’t expect to have a representative and equity-based school board when, at its core, it’s giving some voters a voice while denying access to others,” said Hrejsa. “When we discount half the city right out of the gate, we’re already being inequitable.”

E4E-Chicago does note that the bill contains one critical measure: the creation of a Black Student Achievement Committee to address the needs of Black students, helping to close academic achievement gaps between Black students and their peers.

“While we fight to improve this proposal, we also hope the Black Student Achievement Committee remains, as it’s something that E4E-Chicago’s Elected School Board Teacher Action Team has been calling for,” Hrejsa said. “Our teachers have fought alongside Illinois African Americans for Equitable Redistricting to ensure this important measure is part of the new governing board.”


About Educators for Excellence

Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 33,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Propose Bill That Excludes Half of Chicago Voters from 2024 School Board Election