As union members, we hold power when we organize and work together in solidarity.  Making important school governance decisions — such as budgetary allocations, school policies, curriculum and principal selection — also should involve organized solidarity. Running for the Local School Council (LSC) at your school with a slate is a great way to make this happen.

Per state law, CPS must hold LSC elections during report card pick-up in each even year. The 2024 LSC elections for elementary schools will take place April 10 and high school elections will be held April 11. Candidate applications must be submitted to the school or to the LSC Relations office by Feb. 8. Schools must hold a candidate forum for all candidates during the week of March 11 – 19, the week before spring break.

Why run?  Why organize a slate?  Despite waning interest in LSCs over the years, the councils are an important school improvement tool we need to strengthen. LSCs are only as strong as the members serving on them. LSCs are not supposed to be controlled by the school principal, yet many of them are, leading educators, staff and parents to feel disengaged. But a new, invigorated LSC can completely change the direction of a school. 

Most LSCs have two teacher representatives, one non-teacher staff representative, six parents, two community representatives and one to three students. Imagine what your school could accomplish with the power of a slate of candidates that is passionate about improving the school. From principal contract renewals to equitable budgetary allocations that target students’ needs, to introducing a school-wide, anti-racist curriculum, a new, inclusive and collaborative LSC can revolutionize how your school operates.

Start talking to your coworkers to identify strong candidates who will represent staff concerns.* Think about which parent voices need to be at the table, for example special education, bilingual education, STLS, or gifted. The community representatives can be anyone living in the school’s attendance area, or the LSC voting area for non-attendance boundary schools. Reach out to retirees, former parents, community organizations or your elected officials if you need help recruiting community representatives.

For more information, visit CTU’s LSC resource page or reach out to Sarah Rothschild at the CTU office.  

* Note that, in the past, CPS has disqualified staff applicants based on disciplinary records, so be prepared if eligibility may become an issue. If you are interested in running and you’re unsure if anything is in your file, including written warnings, contact CPS at employeerecords@cps.edu.

Sarah Rothchild is a policy analyst at the CTU.