Chicago Teachers Union raises concerns about Senate President’s last minute changes to elected school board bill

CHICAGO— The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement:

Our union has been part of a city-wide coalition of parents, community members and other CPS stakeholders who have been engaged in a decades-long struggle to win an elected representative school board for Chicago. And now, at the eleventh hour of that struggle, Senate President Don Harmon has put forward a surprise proposal that could ultimately delay and deny the democracy Chicago so desperately needs and deserves.

We are disappointed that we don’t yet have a comprehensive agreement on the elected school board map or conditions and timeline for elections.

CTU is encouraged by the House’s action in passing SB 689. Here’s what we understand about the House proposal:

  • The actual map itself appears to be an agreement between the House and Senate. It is more representative of Chicago’s voters and students than maps shared in the spring.
  • The House bill addresses candidate eligibility questions while maintaining strong ethics protections.
  • The bill establishes a clear petition timeline and signature requirements consistent with state legislative districts.
  • The timeline and structure of elections in the House proposal allow the entire city to vote and ensures a smooth transition to a fully elected school board in 2026.
  • We hope for continued negotiations that will finally achieve a comprehensive agreement for a representative elected school board.

Here’s where we do not have agreement. Senate President Harmon’s statement leaves us frustrated, raising many unanswered questions that we hope would have been answered long before today. We hope that the Senate President and his leadership will commit to work with the Speaker of the House in dialogue with stakeholders and long time advocates of an elected school board to finalize a pathway forward.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 300,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at