Campaign Spending Limits

Parents have said they don’t want elections to be dominated by politics and money, but the new law has very few limitations on how candidates can raise or spend money for their campaigns.

Vendors with CPS contracts are not allowed to donate to Board campaigns—which would be a clear conflict of interest. Outside of that, normal state campaign finance laws govern how campaign funds can be raised and spent.

This means that candidates can raise:

  • Up to $6,900 from an individual.
  • Up to $13,700 from a corporation or union.
  • Up to $68,500 from a political action committee or another candidate’s committee.

If any individual donates more than $100,000 to their own campaign, then these contribution limits are lifted for all candidates in that race.

Super PACs are already spending millions of dollars on School Board races around the country. In Los Angeles, School Board races have turned into big money political contests between opposing ideologies. Yet, there are examples of local efforts to limit the influence of money on elections. For instance, there is a new law limiting contributions in Illinois judicial races and a proposed ordinance in the City of Chicago that would establish a public financing option for municipal elections. These could serve as models to limit money's influence in School Board elections.

How L.A.'s school board election became the most expensive in U.S. history (L.A. Times, May 21, 2017)

National conservative groups pour money into local school board races (Politico, September 19, 2022)

Pritzker signs law banning dark money, out-of-state contributions in judicial campaigns (NPR Illinois, November 15, 2021)

Can Campaign Finance Be Reformed In Chicago? Ald Wants $250 Cap On Donations From Insiders With ‘Outsized Influence’ (Block Club Chicago, July 27, 2022)