WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot announces new Chicago Board of Education members
Lightfoot said the days of closed-door meetings and a rubber stamp school board are over as she introduced her hand-picked school board Monday morning. Under her watch, Lightfoot said all decisions affecting all Chicago Public School Students will be transparent.
"A mayor has to have skin in the game, of course, but it's going to be a collaborative effort not a dictatorship," Lightfoot said.
Former State Senator Miguel del Valle will serve as board president. The rest of the board includes CPS parents, grandparents, teachers and a former principal. Del Valle says his priority is addressing truancy, the student-based budget model and making sure CPS does not enter into contracts that lead to corruption.
"Frankly, it's up to the board members to pay attention to these things, keep track of these things and to not cast a vote unless they have all the information necessary," del Valle said.
But, the first order of business may be dealing with a teachers contract that is currently being negotiated. While del Valle said teachers must be compensated fairly, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey has doubts a new school board will be any different than previous ones that were appointed by the mayor.
"While I'm pleased the composition of the school board has changed, it doesn't change the fact that this is still a school board that serves as the pleasure of the mayor," Sharkey said.
Sharkey said real change won't happen until there is an elected school board, something Mayor Lightfoot strongly supports. However, she said it must be done the right way, where parents can sit on the board.
"I don't want school board elections to turn into multi-million dollar exercises where parents have no ability to participate," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot opposed an elected school board bill in Springfield that would have created a 21-member school board. Lightfoot's appointed board will be sworn in June 26. In addition, the mayor asked CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson to stay on long-term.