No need to fear ICE, even if you take part in school elections, CPS assures parents

Local School Council elections will take place in April, with candidate applications due in March.

SHARE No need to fear ICE, even if you take part in school elections, CPS assures parents
miguel del valle

Miguel del Valle

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools officials Wednesday reassured families that the district does not cooperate with federal immigration agents and urged parents and community members to participate without fear in school elections and this year’s census.

At its monthly school board meeting, president Miguel del Valle emphasized CPS’ support of the city’s strengthened welcoming city ordinance that protects immigrants from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“CPS will not share student records with ICE unless there is a specific court order or consent from the student’s parent or guardian,” del Valle said. “We don’t want our parents, our community residents to be reluctant to participate either as candidates or in the election of local school council members. And we certainly want everyone in school communities across the city, regardless of their immigration status, to participate in the census.”

Local school councils are elected groups at each school that approve spending and evaluate and renew principals’ contracts, among other responsibilities. Each LSC is made up of six parent representatives, two community members, two teachers, one non-teacher staff member and, for high schools, a student.

But in recent years, nearly 6 in 10 schools didn’t attract enough candidates to fill the 12 positions, the Sun-Times has reported.

CPS board member Sendhil Revuluri noted that LSCs aren’t “a way to pass the buck,” but a format that puts “as many decisions as possible as close to individual schools as possible.”

“Guaranteed, if you live in Chicago, you are an eligible community representative for at least one Chicago public school,” Revuluri said.

The deadline to file candidate applications at schools is March 5, and elections will be held April 22 and 23. More information about LSC elections can be found at CPS.edu/LSC.

Parent advocacy group Raise Your Hand and the Chicago Teachers Union, as part of the “LSC.4.All Coalition” with various community organizations, are hosting an LSC elections informational summit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the union’s headquarters at 1901 W. Carroll Ave.

Schools chief Janice Jackson said participation in LSC elections is “one of the best ways for parents to play an active role in their child’s education.”

Jackson also said the census is “critically important” and called under-counting in low-income communities a civil rights issue.

“This has great implications for the school system because under-counting can lead to less funding for schools,” Jackson said. “We need to work as a community to make sure that our numbers are accurate.”

Census documents will begin arriving at homes in March, and residents are encouraged to respond online, by phone or by mail. Census takers will start visiting homes that haven’t responded in May in an effort to count as many people as possible.

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