Here’s how to run for your local school board or serve as a judge in the April elections

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools are gearing up for another local school board election season.

Local school boards, also known as LSCs, are the governing bodies of public schools. The 2022 elections will take place on April 20 for elementary schools and April 21 for secondary schools. Polling stations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

Traditional local school councils consist of the principal, six parents, two community members, two teachers, one non-teaching staff member and one to three students.

Some schools with a “specialty” student population or an educational focus have appointed local school boards, said Marcus Pittman, a district lead council facilitator. Military schools have an appointed board of trustees.

There are “several significant changes” in place for the election, Pittman said at Wednesday’s meeting of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council.

Voting will be done entirely in person this year. The district used a mail system for the 2020 election that some voters said was confusing and poorly managed, according to Chalkbeat.

Schools will use gymnasiums and other “mixed-use areas where people can easily social distance” for this year’s election, Pittman said.

All secondary school councils will have three student representatives. Elementary school councils will have a student representative for the first time, as students currently in grade six or higher are eligible to run in the next election.

Students will be voted on by their peers in a poll of the school’s student body, which will be held on April 18 or 19.

Other rules remain in place from the previous elections. Parent and community representatives cannot be CPS employees, while community representatives must be at least 17 years old and live in the school’s attendance area or constituency.

Applications to run in the 2022 municipal elections are available on the CPS website. Applicants must bring their application and two pieces of identification to the school they are reporting to by 3 p.m. on March 4.

Residents 18 or older can serve as local school board election judges, who verify voter eligibility, issue ballots, tally votes, and present election results to the school.

Election judges must attend a two-hour training, which should be held in person, according to the district. Judges can’t vote because they can’t leave office during elections, Pittman said.

Candidates can serve as judges, and they will be assigned to a different school than the one in which they are running for a council seat.

Judges are paid $250 per day of service and can work on both election days. Food is provided.

Applications for election judges are available on the district’s website and are due March 8, though officials recommend applying by January 31 for placement at the candidate’s preferred school.

Nominations may be delivered to any school holding a local school board election or to the Local School Board Relations Office on the third floor of the district’s Garfield Park office, 2651 W. Washington Blvd. They may also be submitted by email to [email protected]

For more information about running for a seat on the local school board or serving as an election judge, contact the Local School Board Relations Office at 773-553-1400.

Local school board elections are usually held every two years in the spring, although the 2020 elections have been postponed to November due to the pandemic.

More than 1,000 seats went unfilled after the 2020 elections, and turnout in those elections fell by 43% compared to 2018.

In 2020, “I had multiple schools where candidates were barely elected to the LSC with a single vote,” Pittman said. “Hopefully with things coming back in person, I can say it will be a benefit for [the 2022] election. Hopefully voter turnout will increase.

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