SPRINGFIELD- Local school boards make critical decisions concerning curriculum, negotiating teacher contracts and budgets.  However, only about 20 percent of registered voters show up to vote for these important positions.

041615CM0513Illinois residents may be given the opportunity to vote for their school board members alongside candidates for the White House and U.S. Senate under legislation Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed in an effort to fight voter fatigue.

“Good schools mean good businesses in our communities. Voting in local school board elections means voting for the success of our students and economy,” said Cullerton. “We need to do as much as possible to increase voter participation for school board elections. We can’t force people to go out and vote but we can take steps to make it easier.”

Cullerton introduced Senate Bill 669 after observing an extreme decrease in voter participation during consolidated elections. In the 23rd State Senate District alone there was a 58 percentage drop off in voter turnout in the 2013 consolidated elections compared to 2014 general elections.

“We rely on school board members to make vital decisions about the future of our children and property tax dollars. These are decisions they shouldn’t take lightly and neither should voters,” said Cullerton.  

Under this measure, school board elections will remain nonpartisan.

SB 669 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.

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