After budget passes, Chicago elected school board bill under debate by Senate

Chicago News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — After the state legislature worked past its deadline to approve a $42 billion state budget, a bill was filed to potentially usher in an elected school board in Chicago.

The state faced a $1.3 billion budget hole, but better-than-expected revenue and federal relief helped close the gap. $600 million in revenue is generated by closing corporate tax breaks.

The spending plan uses $2.4 billion in federal money for infrastructure and other programs.

“Today, ours is a budget that addresses the historical structural deficit and makes responsible choices,” said Gov. Pritzker.

The budget bill was filed, debated and passed all in one day. Republicans called the process unfair.

“That was classic Mike Madigan,” said House GOP leader Jim Durkin. “Classic 65th and Pulaski style.”

Before dawn, House members headed home thinking their work was finished. But this morning, Senate came back to look an unfished business.

The move suggested that maybe the House and Senate Democratic majorities were not on the same page.

House Speaker Welch said it boils down to different members having different opinions.

Diversity is the strength of our state and diversity is the strength of the House Democratic caucus and the Senate Democratic caucus,” said House Speaker Chris Welch. “We’re not going to always agree.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Senate is debating an elected school board bill for Chicago. A bill was filed that would establish a hybrid school board before moving to a fully elected board. Under the plan, the board would grow from seven members to 21.

Ten would be elected in 2024 and 11 would be appointed by the mayor. The bill would have all 21 members be elected by 2026. The mayoral election and the school board election would not be held in the same year. Chicago Public Schools is the only district in the state without an elected school board.

As the Senate wraps up, the following changes were passed and sent to the governor’s desk.

  • Primary election moved to June 28
  • Curbside voting made permanent
  • Election Day remains a state holiday
  • Juneteenth approved as state holiday
  • Ban on police lying to youth during interrogations
  • More cannabis licenses for equity applicants
  • Limited use of seclusion and restraint in schools
  • New political maps for Illinois House, Senate
  • New districts for Illinois Supreme Court

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