Chicago is unique in having local school councils that have the power to hire and fire principals and decide how discretionary school money is spent.
These elected councils, made up of parents, community members and teachers, give people a real say in what happens in their neighborhood public schools.
But if the dearth of applicants for this year's LSC elections is any indication, at least some schools won't have enough candidates to form an effective council.
As of today, only about 2,400 people have signed up to run in next month's elections.
That's far less than the usual range of 6,660 to 8,400 candidates for these volunteer positions, according to the reform group Designs for Change.
The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. Thursday. But we're hoping schools CEO Ron Huberman and Chicago School Board President Mary Richardson-Lowry will extend that deadline by at least two more weeks, given the low number of people who have applied.
Even if that doesn't happen, it's not too late for you to get involved.
LSC election forms are available here.
You don't need to have a background in education to apply, only a commitment to the quality of our schools.
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UPDATE: The deadline to run for a local school council has been extended to March 24.