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Petition for elected school board gains widespread support in Chicago

The petition initiated by PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education) and other groups has been gaining momentum. The declaration that Chicago needed an elected school board was made by the Rev. Charlie Walker (left) of the Moses Vines (Orr HS) Local School Council and others at the February 27, 2008 Chicago Board of Education meeting.

At the February 27, 2008, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, hundreds of people protested the Board's plans to reconstitute, reorganize and radically change 18 Chicago public schools. One of the many speakers who denounced the Board's planned actions was the Rev. Charlie Walker (above), who criticized the Board for ending the "small schools" programs at Orr High School and reconstituting Orr through the new thing called "turnaround." Walker drew widespread cheers when he pointed to the members of the Board -- all of whom are appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley -- and said that the people of Chicago deserved an elected school board. Later, the groups announced that the petition was going to be circulated to get the question on the November ballot in Chicago.

In May, the Chicago Teachers Union announced it was going to ask its members to circulate the petition. Instead of putting copies of the petition into the packet distributed to all delegates at the May CTU House of Delegates meeting, the petitions were distributed separately and in a haphazard manner. PURE’s website contains copies of the petition and other information. Pureparents.org.

According to PURE, the petition needs 40,356 valid signatures to get on the ballot in the November election. These signatures must be verified and turned in by August 18.

Petitions must be signed by registered voters. Those who circulate the petitions must be over age 18 and U.S. citizens. Each sheet must be signed and witnessed by a Notary. Since Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and much of the city’s corporate elite does not want an elected school board, it’s going to be a busy summer for those who do. 



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