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How Many Votes Does It Take to Win an LSC Election? A Lot Less Than You’d Think

By Patty Wetli | Friday, April 13, 2012

Waters Elementary School. Credit: Teresa Fourcher

In 1989, during the first LSC elections, 300,000 votes were cast–that’s roughly what Rahmbo earned to become mayor. But like a lot of statistics, that oft-referenced number is slightly deceiving. Divide the amount of votes among multiple candidates at hundreds of schools and it’s clear that anyone with a handful of friends (real, not Facebook) has a mighty good chance of snagging a seat on the LSC of his or her choice. At a number of schools, the positions are as uncontested as an incumbent Democrat in a Chicago primary.

LSC representatives have the power to hire or fire a school’s principal. They determine where to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in discretionary spending. And if there’s little competition and a low level of interest from parents and the community, they can earn these privileges by collecting fewer than a dozen votes.

CSJ, through a Freedom of Information Act request of Chicago Public Schools, has obtained documents that break down the number of LSC candidates per school and their respective vote totals in 2010. Note: Each LSC consists of the school’s principal, six parents, two community members, two teachers, one non-teaching staff member and, in high schools, one student.

HIGH SCHOOLS

Amundsen, 5110 N. Damen Ave.

  • Four parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 52; low total, 42
  • Four community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 67; second, 62

Lake View, 4015 N. Ashland Ave.

  • Five parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 17; low total, 7
  • Six community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 34; second, 28

Lane Tech, 2501 W. Addison St.

  • Seven parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 117; low winning total, 27
  • Three community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 110; second, 84

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Bell, 3730 N. Oakley Ave.

  • Ten parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 29; low winning total, 10
  • Three community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 10; second, 9

Budlong, 2701 W. Foster Ave.

  • Five parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 47; low winning total, 27
  • Two community members running uncontested: vote totals 39 and 24

Chappell, 2135 W. Foster Ave.

  • Four parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 12; low winning total, 4
  • Two community members running uncontested: vote totals 26 and 6

Coonley, 4046 N. Leavitt St.

  • Thirteen parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 99; low winning total, 50
  • Two community members running uncontested: vote totals 31 and 11

Courtenay, 1726 W. Berteau Ave.

  • Six parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 7; low winning total, 5
  • Two community members running uncontested: vote totals 8 and 5

McPherson, 4728 N. Wolcott Ave.

  • Seven parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 49, low winning total, 21
  • Three community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 36; second, 33

Ravenswood, 4332 N. Paulina St.

  • Six parents running uncontested: top vote-getter, 41; low winning total, 30
  • Three community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 36; second 24

Trumbull, 5200 N. Ashland Ave.

  • Seven parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 56; low winning total, 17
  • Five community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 57; second, 33

Waters, 4540 N. Campbell Ave.

  • Ten parents contesting six openings: top vote-getter, 153; low winning total, 93
  • Four community members contesting two openings: top vote-getter, 172; second, 150

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