Rich Miller

Rich Miller

School board spat erodes confidence in Springfield

Spread the love

.

By Rich Miller

.

Chicago Teachers Union lobbyist Kurt Hilgendorf told the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on Nov. 7 that the union had only “one problem” with Senate President Don Harmon’s elected Chicago school board bill.

Hilgendorf praised much of the bill during his testimony. But the Chicago Teachers Union has claimed for years that it wants a fully elected school board, just like every other school district in the state. Right now, all board members are appointed by the mayor.

The “one concern” the union had about the legislation, Hilgendorf said, was that “only half of the city will vote,” because Harmon’s bill only elected half of the 20 district members and mandated that the mayor appoint the other half. The appointed members would serve for two years and then their districts would be put to the voters.

“That creates a disenfranchisement lawsuit risk,” Hilgendorf warned, adding that “maximum participation should be done in the first election, similar to how the Senate after a remap year, all members of the Senate are up.” In conclusion, the CTU lobbyist told the committee, “We think that all the voters in the city of Chicago should have the right to vote in that first-year election.”

RichMiller

Rich Miller

Senate President Harmon rewrote his bill and used language similar to Hilgendorf’s when he explained his new measure to his chamber two days later. The bill would, as the CTU requested, elect all 20 members next year. Harmon explained that, after a period of staggered elections, the proposal adopted “the Senate model” of breaking up the 20 districts into “three classes,” of “terms that we in the Senate are elected to.” A third of the Senate’s members is elected for terms of two, four and four years. Another third is elected for terms of four, two and four years. The final third is elected for terms of four, four and two years.

The CTU, in other words, would get exactly what it said it wanted during the committee hearing two days earlier.

But the CTU adamantly refused to accept a win and continued supporting the House’s hybrid plan of electing only half the school board next year, with the other half appointed.

A few hours after Senate President Harmon passed his bill, CTU President Stacy Davis Gates wrote on the website formerly known as Twitter: “The real question is when did the senate president become a proponent of a fully elected [Chicago school board]? The ONLY reason we [have] a hybrid board until ‘26 is [because] of his refusal to pass legislation for a fully elected board. Why now? Ask him? It’s the MOST obvious question NOT being asked.”

Um, the most obvious answer is that the CTU asked for a fully elected board on Tuesday and warned a lawsuit could be filed if the language wasn’t changed to elect all 20 members. And, unlike the House, Harmon gave the CTU exactly what it publicly requested.

Near the end of a story earlier last week by Chicago Sun-Times chief political reporter Tina Sfondeles was this passage: “The CTU, which has always supported a fully elected board, prefers [Rep. Ann Williams’ hybrid House plan], in part because it would give the union more time to choose candidates and raise campaign funds. The union would only have to find 10 candidates, as opposed to 20, under the House Democrats’ plan. And the union’s political action committee will have to play catch-up after contributing a hefty $2.46 million to Johnson’s mayoral campaign.”

In other words, why spend precious dollars on 10 extra elections if the mayor you elected will appoint your people for free?

CTU President Davis Gates also complained online that reporters asked Mayor Brandon Johnson, but not the CTU, about the union’s reasons for supporting the House’s hybrid bill instead of the fully elected Senate bill. I took her up on the offer and asked. As I write this, she hasn’t yet responded.

Harmon told reporters after he passed his bill that the legislature has until April 1 to come up with a solution, so sending both chambers home without a deal last week wasn’t the end of the world.

It did not go unnoticed, though, that House Speaker Chris Welch abruptly adjourned his chamber not long after passing his chamber’s CTU-backed hybrid bill in a way which couldn’t be amended by the Senate, forcing Harmon’s chamber into a take it or leave it position.

“None of this instills much confidence in the legislative process going forward,” noted one longtime legislative observer.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Local News

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Alumni Association members Heather Leininger, Emily Szymczak, Candice Mares and Miriam Cruz (at table) lead a crowd of LeaderShop alumni and community members waving posters saying Morals Matter, Demand Change, and Integrity for the Kids. (Photos by S. Kirchman)

LeaderShop alumni, board meeting turns testy at times

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy S. Kirchman The LeaderShop Alumni Association rallied under the pavilion at The LeaderShop office in La Grange for the board’s scheduled 6 p.m. meeting after it was switched from in-person to virtual earlier on Thursday. The Alumni Association consists of volunteers, previous staff members, former members of the board of directors, funders,…

Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who…

Neighbors

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Alumni Association members Heather Leininger, Emily Szymczak, Candice Mares and Miriam Cruz (at table) lead a crowd of LeaderShop alumni and community members waving posters saying Morals Matter, Demand Change, and Integrity for the Kids. (Photos by S. Kirchman)

LeaderShop alumni, board meeting turns testy at times

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy S. Kirchman The LeaderShop Alumni Association rallied under the pavilion at The LeaderShop office in La Grange for the board’s scheduled 6 p.m. meeting after it was switched from in-person to virtual earlier on Thursday. The Alumni Association consists of volunteers, previous staff members, former members of the board of directors, funders,…

Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who…