Election Day for High Schools: Races to Watch

By Patty Wetli | Thursday, April 19, 2012

Amundsen High School. Credit: Mike Fourcher

This is it folks, your last chance to vote in a Local School Council election…in 2012. CSJ‘s readers reported strong turnout at several elementary schools yesterday; let’s see how the high schools fare today.

The big stories to watch are the community races at Amundsen and Lake View. At Amundsen, community candidates outnumber parents by nearly two to one; at Lake View, a whopping 12 community members are vying for just two seats, compared with two uncontested parents running to fill six seats. At Lane Tech, the situation is reversed, with the number of parent candidates bolstered by the addition of an academic center for seventh- and eighth-graders.

Both Amundsen and Lake View have been targeted by Ald. Ameya Pawar’s Grow 47 initiative aimed at lifting the quality of neighborhood schools to create a viable K-12 system for families within Northcenter and Lincoln Square.

“At Lake View, we announced STEM, and that’s great,” said Pawar at last week’s Ward Council meeting. “Amundsen needs our attention just as much.” Referring to the recently announced retirement of Amundsen Principal Carlos Munoz at the end of this school year, Pawar noted the “opportunity to get a transformative leader with the right [voter] turnout.” With a strong showing from the community, which has already put its weight behind the establishment of a Friends of Amundsen group, the “LSC will get the message there needs to be a national search for Amundsen.”

With the stakes raised at Amundsen, not surprisingly the LSC race turned ugly in the final days of the campaign, with anonymous robo-calls smearing one of the community candidates. Well, actually, the tactic was incredibly surprising for an election that typically flies so far under the radar, Mayor Emanuel himself doesn’t know if he voted or not.

The real question for schools, particularly those with a wealth of candidates, is how to capitalize on this level of enthusiasm. For those contenders who don’t earn a seat on the LSC, we can already imagine the school’s pitch: Hey, no hard feelings, let’s stay friends. Make that “Friends of….”

Voting at high schools runs through 7 p.m. tonight. Check out our guide on where and how to vote.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/ericrojas2 Eric Rojas

    Actually, your “Friends of” statement is spot on.  In the Amundsen situation, a lot of people involved feel we’ll be in good shape no matter who is on the LSC this go around.  Parents and community members will have a true community group with very smart people to help promote the school with the help of those inside Amundsen.  You’ll see much better information, local media coverage and recruitment.  That’s probably true for Lake View as well.  So, this has been a good thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1850563881 J Ryan Custer

    Turnout when I voted at 9:30 was 20 community members. 

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