Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly
Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly
  1. Public Meetings Report – March 18, 2021
  2. Public Meetings Report – April 1, 2021
  3. Public Meetings Report – April 15, 2021
  4. Public Meetings Report – April 29, 2021
  5. Public Meetings Report – May 13, 2021
  6. Public Meetings Report – May 27, 2021
  7. Public Meetings Report – June 10, 2021
  8. Public Meetings Report – June 24, 2021
  9. Public Meetings Report – July 08, 2021
  10. Public Meetings Report – July 22, 2021
  11. Public Meetings Report – August 05, 2021
  12. Public Meetings Report – August 19, 2021
  13. Public Meetings Report – September 30, 2021
  14. Public Meetings Report – October 14, 2021
  15. Public Meetings Report – October 28, 2021
  16. Public Meetings Report – November 11, 2021
  17. Public Meetings Report – November 25, 2021
  18. Public Meetings Report – December 9, 2021
  19. Public Meetings Report – January 13, 2022
  20. Public Meetings Report – January 27, 2022
  21. Public Meetings Report – February 10, 2022
  22. Public Meetings Report – February 24, 2022
  23. Public Meetings Report – March 10, 2022
  24. Public Meetings Report – March 24, 2022
  25. Public Meetings Report – April 7, 2022
  26. Public Meetings Report – April 21, 2022
  27. Public Meetings Report – May 5, 2022
  28. Public Meetings Report – May 19, 2022
  29. Public Meetings Report – June 2, 2022
  30. Public Meetings Report – June 22, 2022
  31. Public Meetings Report – June 30, 2022
  32. Public Meetings Report – July 14, 2022
  33. Public Meetings Report – July 28, 2022
  34. Public Meetings Report – August 11, 2022
  35. Public Meetings Report – August 25, 2022
  36. Public Meetings Report — October 20, 2022
  37. Public Meetings Report — November 17, 2022
  38. Public Meetings Report — December 1, 2022
  39. Public Meetings Report — January 12, 2023
  40. Public Meetings Report — January 26, 2023
  41. Public Meetings Report — February 9, 2023
  42. Public Meetings Report — February 23, 2023
  43. Public Meetings Report — March 9, 2023
  44. Public Meetings Report — March 23, 2023
  45. Public Meetings Report — April 20, 2023
  46. Public Meetings Report — May 4, 2023
  47. Public Meetings Report — May 18, 2023
  48. Public Meetings Report — June 1, 2023
  49. Public Meetings Report — June 15, 2023
  50. Public Meetings Report — June 29, 2023
  51. Public Meetings Report — July 13, 2023
  52. Public Meetings Report — July 27, 2023
  53. Public Meetings Report — August 10, 2023
  54. Public Meetings Report — August 24, 2023
  55. Public Meetings Report — September 7, 2023
  56. Public Meetings Report — September 21, 2023
  57. Public Meetings Report — December 7, 2023
  58. Public Meetings Report — February 1, 2024
  59. Public Meetings Report — February 15, 2024

April 26

During a six-and-a-half-hour meeting, the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education reviewed plans for how nearly $400 million in budget increases will be allocated (despite a $1.4 billion shortfall in state funding) and the status of a school performance rating system designed to be more supportive. Average per-student spending is slated to increase by nearly $1,000, according to CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, resulting in higher spending per pupil in ninety-one percent of the schools. Members also heard public concerns over the closing of the Hope Institute Learning Academy Chicago charter school after staff unionization efforts, and that some 270,000 students do not have access to a school librarian, according to Foreman High School librarian Tara Donnelly. Spending plans, as presented by Board Member Sulema Medrano Novak, include more dollars for special education teachers and paraprofessionals, new teachers for schools that need them most, more bilingual education, more financial grant support for under-enrolled schools, and 240 more seats for the district’s pre-K program. 

April 27

At its meeting, the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability focused on plans to identify and recommend three candidates for the position of Chicago Police Department superintendent. The mayor is charged with choosing one of the three, subject to City Council approval, or asking for additional recommendations. The commission launched a process last September to collect data using focus groups, surveys, and public forums. Forums announced at the meeting include May 4, Roosevelt High School; May 10, Kennedy High School; and May 22 at the Beverly Arts Center. The commission has received nine applications and must forward its selections to the mayor by July 14. The Mayo has to make a decision by August 13. Commission president Anthony Driver, Jr., emphasized that “[the public’s] voice will be heard… We’re searching for the best candidates for the job.” Commissioners responded to public comments about police ineffectiveness by indicating that they are using five strategies to hold CPD accountable: partnership, management, infrastructure, policing and communication. 

April 29

At the second of five scheduled public-input meetings, an Illinois General Assembly Hearing on Chicago Elected School Board Maps was conducted by Assembly members. Illinois lawmakers are drafting a proposed map that  divides the city into districts to elect Chicago school board members and are seeking public input during the process. Information-gathering includes determining communities of interest and interpreting terminology. The law specifies that the districts must be “compact” without defining the word’s meaning. Once the districts are determined, voters are charged with electing ten members to four-year terms beginning in 2024. Those members will serve along with eleven mayor-appointed members until 2026. The full twenty-one-member elected board is scheduled to begin its term in 2027. At the hearing, commenters representing parents and organizations expressed several concerns. Among them were transparency in determining the maps, ensuring diverse representation on the new board to reflect the individual districts, direct public input, and how the process will be funded. Several commenters spoke in favor of paying the elected board members. A few of the organizations represented included Kids First Chicago, Illinois Families For Public Schools, and South Merrill Community Garden.

May 1

During the third Illinois General Assembly Hearing on Chicago Elected School Board Maps, the Assembly members present heard public comments similar to those heard at the second such hearing two days before. One commenter, however, clarified the need to pay members of this school board, even though members of other school boards in the state are volunteers. Compensation could make the seats more attractive to individuals without significant financial resources, lessening the influence of more privileged community members. Another commenter asked that more information about the mapping process and the maps themselves be posted online. This commenter also requested that time and the means for public feedback about the maps be provided. The Assembly members had no follow-up questions after commenters spoke. One member said he supported paying the school board members.  

May 4

At the CPD Superintendent Search Public Forum fourth meeting, twenty public commenters stated, often in specific and passionate terms, what they want in a new superintendent, including accountability to communities and willingness to fire officers “on the spot” when justifiable. The death of Anthony Alvarez in March 2021 was a touchstone throughout the meeting and was referred to several times, including a request that the investigation be reopened. Alvarez was killed by a Chicago police officer who received a twenty-day suspension. A public defender, who said she had represented young people who had been chased, stopped, and handcuffed, called for the elimination of foot chases and so-called tactical and gang units. Other topics included better screening of officers responding to domestic violence calls, bringing an “anti-racist” attitude to the department, and selecting a leader from Chicago and from within CPD. Other speakers supported disinvestment in the police force and investment in communities for a “holistic framework of public safety” and more interaction with non-English-speaking communities, including Spanish-language forums. A retired deputy CPD chief said that he supported the interim chief, had noticed “low morale in the department,” and emphasized that the new superintendent needed to be supported by the community and the department. Fred Waller, a thirty-four-year CPD veteran, was named interim superintendent on May 3 by then Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.  The meeting attendees were encouraged to complete a survey about the process and the desired outcomes.  

May 9

An ordinance to appropriate funds totaling millions of dollars was approved by the Chicago City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations during its meeting. $51 million from a two-billion-dollar surplus from 2021 are earmarked to support recently arriving migrants. “We are definitely in the surge of our new arrivals [from South America] mission,” said City Budget Director Susie Park. Some thirty million dollars have been spent on supporting migrants so far, Park said, and the City has asked for over sixty million additional dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Park estimates supporting migrants through June will take $112 million. The committee also discussed the opioid crisis and slated some $18 million from the opioid and vaping settlement with Juul to be used for treatment, education, outreach, messaging, and prevention.  

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This information was collected and curated by the Weekly in large part using reporting from City Bureau’s Documenters at documenters.org.

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