Now that we’ve
badgered you into convinced you of the importance of voting in Local School Council elections, we can’t leave you hanging on the who and how – and we might even pester you again about the why.
Who can vote
All Chicago residents age 18 and older are eligible to vote, no need to have registered and no U.S. citizenship required, so forget about using those excuses. Parents and legal guardians can vote at every school at which they have students enrolled; to make the process more convenient, LSC elections are held on the same day as report card pickup.
Community members can vote at their neighborhood schools, both elementary and high school, and even middle school if one exists. To determine your neighborhood schools, check out this map or handy school locator. To narrow your options, we have a list of schools in Center Square Journal‘s coverage area.
Schools without attendance boundaries, including selective enrollment schools such as Lane Tech, are fair game for everyone.
How to vote
Elementary LSC elections are scheduled for April 18, 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.; high school elections will be held April 19, 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. The neighborhood schools that you identified above will serve as your polling place.
At most elementary schools the main entrance is obvious but high schools, with their myriad numbered and lettered doors, can be a challenge to navigate. If you’re voting at Lake View, use door #10 in the rear of the building at the north end of the parking lot; at Lane Tech, door M off the parking lot is a safe bet; and at Amundsen, try door #3 off Damen. Or just follow the crowd.
Community members should be prepared to present two forms of identification, at least one of which must demonstrate your current address. A driver’s license, library card, voter registration card, credit card, current lease, state ID and utility bills are among the IDs accepted.
Parents and guardians should have ID on record with their student’s school, if not, the child’s birth certificate ought to do the trick.
Once handed a ballot (which will not contain teacher or student candidates), parents and community members can cast a vote for as many as five candidates. Voting for fewer than five is fine but voting for more than five invalidates the ballot.
Why you should vote
We’ve said it before, so we’ll let Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) say it again: “How your school performs is how your neighborhood performs. Everything is tied to how your school is doing.” Pawar’s Grow 47 initiative is aimed not just at creating a viable K-12 public school system within Northcenter and Lincoln Square but at getting the entire community involved with their neighborhood school, regardless of whether they have children or not. “Everyone shares in a school’s success economically, everyone can give back.”
If that’s not incentive enough, consider this: No CPS administration has thrown its support behind LSCs. Anyone seen Mayor Rahm Emanuel or CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard urging residents to get out and vote? Something about an elected body that gives parents and community members a voice in how their schools are run apparently doesn’t sit well with the powers that be. Could that something be democracy?
CSJ will post the election results as soon as they’re made available to us.