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Eighty-seven percent vote 'Yes' in referendum! Elected School Board gets overwhelming voter support across Chicago as 35 wards and 327 precincts get to vote on reorganization

Ignored in the rush of news following the November 6, 2012, elections so far has been the fact that Chicago voters have voted overwhelmingly to support an elected school board, despite major efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to sabotage the efforts of supporters of the plan. The final tally from those wards and precincts where the question was on the ballot (the mayor blocked a broader number) shows that 87 percent of voters want an elected school board for Chicago. The November 6 referendum was only advisory and the fight for an elected school board now goes to the Illinois General Assembly, which must change the law to provide Chicagoans with what every oter school district in Illinois already has: democracy in school governance.

One party celebrating the victory at the polls will be taking place on November 8 at Gannon's Pub at 4264 N. Lincoln Ave. beginning at 8:00 p.m.

According to the latest from the Raise Your Hand Coalition... "Chicago Voters Overwhelmingly Support an Elected School Board" (November 7, 2012). "Yesterday, voters in 327 precincts throughout 35 wards of the city had the opportunity to vote on the referendum question regarding whether Chicago should have an elected school board, as opposed to the current mayoral appointed school board. Voters overwhelmingly voted yes to an elected school board, with 86.6% voting yes. The final tally amounted to 65,763 people voting YES and 10,174 voting NO.

"The public expressed a clear desire for improvement to the current undemocratic way policies are made at CPS. This was a non-binding referendum to gauge public support. In order for change to now take place, this question must go through the legislature in Springfield. We urge you to contact your state representatives today to share these results and ask their viewpoint. Email us and let us know what they say – info@ilraiseyourhand.org, post on our website – www.ilraiseyourhand.org or tweet to us - @ilraiseyourhand.org."

"http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx

"Thank you to all the CODE and RYH volunteers who spent hours of their free time canvassing for this referendum and passing out palm cards. A strong network of people working together for a common cause can affect change!

"Upcoming Education events:

"-- Thursday, November 8th (8:30pm-10:30pm) Celebrate ERSB Results at Gannon’s Pub, 4264 N. Lincoln. Come out and raise your glass and toast all the hard work of our volunteers over the past 5 months. Learn about other efforts we are working on.

"-- Wednesday, November 14th. CPS Board Meeting. You can register on-line now to speak: http://www.cpsboe.org/home

" -- Friday, November 9, 2012 (5-8pm), Exhibition of Student Art from Around Chicago, Chicago Artist' Coalition Gallery, 217 N. Carpenter. Wednesday, November 14th (6:30pm-8:30pm)

"-- Saturday, November 17th, TSJ Curriculum Fair, King College Prep -4445 S. Drexel

"-- Reawakening the Grassroots Education Movement. Thursday, November 29th (7pm-9pm) RYH Culture of Testing Forum – place tba."

STATEMENT FROM VALERIE LEONARD WHO COORDINATED MUCH OF THE WEST SIDE WORK:

"89% of Voters from African American Wards from Chicago's West Side Vote in Favor of an Elected School Board.

"God is awesome! A preliminary review indicates that voters overwhelmingly want an elected school board. This is significant, as Lawndale and East and West Garfield are Ground Zero for school closings and other school actions that are disruptive to student learning and cause community de-stabilization.

"Please find attached the results for West Side African American Wards that offered the referendum. We thank God for this victory, and give Him the glory! Thank everyone who helped in any way: Provided technical assistance and other resources; circulated petitions; provided an endorsement; promoted this effort; educated voters; distributed literature; knocked on doors; made phone calls; provided a forum to circulate petitions; provided a forum to talk about the issues; videotaped forums or voted!!! We will be looking at results from all races around the City and sharing them with our state legislators as we advocate for an elected school board. A special thanks to Dwayne Truss from the Austin neighborhood, who got the fire started in Lawndale.

"Please note these numbers include some precincts from the 12, 28th and 29th Wards that were in the old 24th Ward. The more updated numbers will reflect the new map.

"We are in the process of reviewing more detailed numbers from the West Side and Citywide. In the meantime, Will Guzzardi of the Logan Square neighborhood posted the following Facebook status:" Elected school board: 65,763 for, 10,174 against. That's 86.6%." I'm not sure if these are final numbers. There is a link to the Chicago Board of Elections page where you can access results for all elections, including referenda."

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