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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Appointment of Chicago School Board Members Not Unconstitutional

In Illinois, members of school district boards are elected by voters in the respective school district except in the City of Chicago. In Chicago, the school board members are appointed by the Chicago Mayor. That law has been in place since 1872. Recently, the statute was challenged in a lawsuit brought by residents in the City of Chicago (including plaintiff Pat Quinn, former Governor) who claimed that the statute was unconstitutional. 

Both the trial and appellate courts upheld the statute, rejecting the plaintiffs' claim that appointing school members rather than electing them violated various provisions of the Illinois constitution, including the right to vote under the free and equal election clause, the due process clause, and exceeded the City's home rule powers. Quinn v. State Board of Education. The appellate court held that there was a "rational basis" for the distinction in statute that provided for appointed school board members in Chicago but elected school board members elsewhere in the state.


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