LSC Sign-Ups Strong Even Without Extension

Apparently, the LSC candidate sign-up numbers aren't so bad after all -- even though there wasn't the traditional extension like there was two years ago.

According to a press release from Community Partners for LSCs, "7,059 candidates signed up to run for Chicagos Local School Councils (LSCs) by the Friday, March 17 deadline. This is up from the 2004 count of 6,674. Most schools have enough candidates to field a full 11- or 12- member LSC, and many have contested elections."

Here's the release:

Community Partners for LSCs Change on a scale that matters

Press release for immediate release
March 21, 2006

Thousands sign up as LSC candidates

Where else but in Chicago do thousands of people volunteer every two
years to help make policy for the public schools?

Community Partners for LSCs is pleased to announce that 7,059 candidates
signed up to run for Chicagos Local School Councils (LSCs) by the
Friday, March 17 deadline. This is up from the 2004 count of 6,674. Most
schools have enough candidates to field a full 11- or 12- member LSC,
and many have contested elections. Where else but in Chicago do
thousands of people volunteer every two years to help make policy for
the public schools?

Community Partners for LSCs formed in late January 2006 in response to
unusually low LSC candidate numbers. We coordinated our outreach to
schools, identified and covered areas with low candidate totals, and
mounted a media effort to help get the word out about the value of LSCs.

We raised concerns about CPSs lack of collaboration with
community-based groups in planning LSC election activities. The $28,000
CPS allocated to community groups this year was only about one-tenth the
amount available for prior elections from CPS and corporate and
foundation funds. CPS eventually doubled the allocation.

Candidate numbers continued to lag behind past years as the nomination
deadline approached. News came out that the head of CPSs Local School
Council Relations department had been transferred to another area in
CPS. Community Partners for LSCs requested a week-long extension of the
filing period; extensions granted in 1998 and 2002 generated at least
1,000 additional candidates. An editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times
supported our request. However, CPS Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan
refused to extend the deadline.

Fortunately, the parents, community members, teachers and students of
CPS showed their dedication to our schoolchildren by signing up by the
thousands to run for LSC. Community Partners for LSCs will now begin a
coordinated effort to support LSC candidates and help get out the vote
on April 19th and 20th. We will also share some recommendations with CPS
for strengthening future nomination efforts including:
putting daily school-by-school candidate numbers on the CPS web site
making sure that schools display election information in multiple places
increasing media exposure in the final week, and
reinstating CPS-community collaborative LSC election planning.

Contacts:
Ismael Vargas, PURE 773-416-5407
Valencia Rias, Designs for Change, 312-236-7252
Eva Moon, Cross City Campaign, 312-332-4880

Filed under: Communities & CBOs

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