Local Opinion

This Week: A Free Way To Improve Your Property Values

By Mike Fourcher | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homeowners in Lincoln Square, Northcenter, Ravenswood and Ravenswood Manor listen up! This week you will have a tremendous opportunity to improve your property values. With a 15-minute detour on Wednesday and another on Thursday, you can set things in motion that could ultimately raise your home value by tens of thousands of dollars!

All it takes is a quick stop at your local elementary on Wednesday and then your neighborhood high school on Thursday to vote in your Local School Council elections.

I apologize for grabbing you with the headline, but this week we should remember a truth every realtor keeps close to their heart: People will pay more to live near a good school.

Local School Councils are the most powerful way for community members to improve their neighborhood schools. The councils hire principals, determine school discretionary spending and affect school curriculum. LSCs can hold open meetings with the principal, and hold them accountable, on just about any topic. And, because they have an official capacity at schools, they are the best conduit for communicating with neighbors about their school’s needs and for getting local parents involved.

This year the stakes have been raised even more, as LSCs from Lane Tech, Amundsen High, Burley and Jahn Elementaries get ready to replace retiring principals. On top of that, veteran CPS watchers say Chicago Public Schools are going through more changes this year than ever before. Strong LSCs can be an important part of making these changes work.

Just a handful of votes can make a world of difference. As Patty Wetli reported last week, most LSC candidates are elected with less than 50 votes and some are elected with fewer than 10 votes. Truly, if you and some of your friends show up to vote for the first time, you could create sweeping change at your neighborhood school.

Local School Council elections are on Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for elementary schools and on Thursday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for high schools. Anyone can vote, not just parents. Check here to find a map of your neighborhood schools and for which ones you can vote. If you want to know more about who you’re voting for, some candidates from Bell, Budlong, Chappell, Coonley, McPherson, Ravenswood, Waters, Lake View High, Amundsen High and Lane Tech have provided us with profiles.

The stakes are high for everyone, not just public school students, this week. If just a few more of us turn out to vote, lots of things can change.

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