CHICAGO (CBS) — The head of Chicago Public Schools says he’d like to see the school board stay the way it is.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, CPS chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard says it makes a huge difference to him whether Chicago keeps an appointed school board, or switches to an elected version – as sought by members of the Coalition to Organize Democracy in Education, or CODE.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports
“I think Chicago really has one of the best school boards ever seen in history,” Brizard said. “I’ve worked for both, elected and appointed school boards. By far, this is the highest-performing board I have ever seen.”
Brizard said in his experience, an elected school board brings problems of politicization and division – problems that are all avoided by an appointed board.
The group claimed the current board, appointed by the mayor, answers to the interests of downtown financiers, rather than Chicago parents. They said the present board has been ill-serving pupils, by closing traditional public schools and promoting charter schools.
Even if approved by voters, an advisory referendum would carry no legal weight to force establishing an elected school board in Chicago.
Only the Illinois General Assembly has the power to force a switch to an elected school board, although an advisory referendum could provide some political impetus to convince lawmakers to make the change.
Speaking at Spencer Elementary Technology Academy, 214 N. Lavergne Ave., Brizard also said he is hopeful that schools will open on time. He said progress is being made in negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.