Grassroots Coalition to File 50,000+ Petitions to Put Elected School Board on February Ballot

Chicago voters will be able to register dissatisfaction with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s unaccountable, unelected rubber-stamp school board in February election

CHICAGO, IL – Parents, teachers and community members will hold a press conference on Monday morning at 11AM to announce the successful petition drive that collected over 50,000 petition signatures to place an advisory referendum on the February 2015 municipal ballot, ensuring that Chicagoans will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like the city of Chicago to elect its school board.

“The work of so many community leaders talking to their neighbors all over the city shows clearly that Chicago is ready and excited for change,” said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Illinois Action.  “The status quo is not working for our children.  Instead of constantly trying to shut down democracy, it is time for the mayor and Chicago Public Schools to listen to the people.  We will not be silenced any longer.”

Chicago is the only city in Illinois where voters don’t elect school board members and one of just a handful of cities across the nation with an appointed board.

The ballot initiative comes as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is under fire for risky investment strategies, devised by current board president and mayoral confidante David Vitale, which could cost the district $100 million it can ill afford. It is a grassroots community response to City Council maneuvers that attempted to keep the question off the ballots, maneuvers currently being investigated by the Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Monday is not only the culmination of a petition drive, but a day that has been a long time in the making, as coalition members have been fighting the CPS privatization efforts, record school closings, and devastating budget cuts for many years.

Coalition members will officially file the tens of thousands of petitions they gathered with the Chicago Board of Elections on Monday morning after the 11 a.m. press conference.