Coalition's idea for elected school board splits mayoral candidates

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said there├é’s no substitute for the voices of parents, teachers and students who are in the city's schools every day. (Chris Walker/Tribune)

Chicago's next mayor shouldn't control the city's public school system, a coalition of teachers, community leaders, parents and students said Wednesday, raising an idea that quickly splintered the major contenders for the office.

The group called for an elected school board that would geographically represent the city instead of the current panel the mayor appoints. The proposed board would dedicate seven of the 13 seats for parents and community members. Two would go to teachers and one each to an administrator, education researcher, paraprofessional and business person.

The push is in its early stages; advocates will need to persuade state legislators to overhaul the landmark 1995 law