Kids First Chicago’s Parent Advisory Board on Illinois House Bill 303

Kids First Chicago's Parent Advisory Board weighs in on Illinois House Bill 303, indicating its support to extend the moratorium on school closures until a fully-elected school board takes office in 2027.

By K1C Parent Advisory Board Executive Committee | May 13, 2024 |

The Parent Advisory Board of Kids First Chicago supports the Illinois Senate’s passage of House Bill 303, with specific amendments.

House Bill 303 serves three key purposes, all effective until February 1, 2027: it extends the prohibition on the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board from approving any school closings, consolidations, or phase-outs; it restricts any changes to admission standards for selective admission schools; and it prevents disproportionate funding cuts to selective admission schools.

The Parent Advisory Board firmly supports extending the moratorium on school closures until the inaugural fully-elected school board takes office in February 2027. This extension is important for two reasons:

  1. Past Harm of School Closures: Prior school closures have disproportionately affected underserved communities. Extending the moratorium ensures that no further harm is inflicted while transitioning to a new governance model.

  2. Promise of Elected Representation: Decisions on school closures should be made by representatives who are directly accountable to the communities they serve, rather than an appointed board. This change promises more thoughtful and community-responsive decision-making.

The Parent Advisory Board takes no position on the bill's proposal to prohibit changes to the admission standards for selective admission schools. We strongly believe that any modifications to these criteria should only proceed following thorough and genuine stakeholder engagement. This process must actively involve parents, students, educators, and community members to ensure that the changes comprehensively reflect diverse needs and viewpoints.

Furthermore, the Parent Advisory Board takes no position on preventing disproportionate funding cuts specifically to schools with selective admissions criteria. However, we stand firmly against disproportionate budget cuts targeting any specific school type including neighborhood, magnet, charter or selective enrollment.

We urge lawmakers to amend House Bill 303 to better reflect these priorities and to pass it promptly thereafter. By doing so, House Bill 303 will help ensure that CPS operates with the transparency, representation, and accountability that our children rightfully deserve.

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