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One Chicagoan's Odyssey Through LSC Voting Districts

Over the weekend I attempted to find all of the schools whose LSC voting districts I live within and ended up uncovering blatant incompetence in the ranks of the CPS central office.

Why does a simple exercise in the practice of representative democracy have to turn into a soul-crushing experience that has me wondering yet again how these people are in charge of educating Chicago's children?

The neighborhood school boundaries are pretty easy to figure out using the school locator.

But what about the selective enrollment schools? I remembered seeing an LSC list that included the selective enrollment schools as well a few months ago, so there must also be elections occurring at those schools, I thought

I was unable to find out on the school locator website if the selective schools had voting districts or if any resident of Chicago could vote for one of their school councils.

So on Monday morning I called CPS to find where I could access those boundaries. I left a voice mail with the LSC relations person at CPS and got a call back late that afternoon. Turns out that those boundaries are not available online but that he could easily have them e-mailed to me "because I just sent them out to the schools this morning."

That would be the morning of the election.

I thanked him and a few minutes later I received the e-mail and a couple PDFs. They are not maps but scans from CPS board reports with narrative descriptions of the voting district boundaries. Some of these documents date back over 20 years so it's not like there hasn't been time to add them to the school locator map.

After discovering just how voter unfriendly the information about selective enrollment voting districts is, I continued my conversation with the CPS LSC relations person to find out more frustrating tidbits:

* There is a CPS department that handles mapping but they only focus on neighborhood school boundaries and they have never done anything with the selective enrollment LSC voting boundaries.

* There is no plan to do anything to make these boundaries more publicly accessible.

Once I started asking more pointed questions, he suggested I speak with CPS Communications.

I called up the Communications folks and explained the situation only to be asked, in a somewhat flabbergasted manner, "So you received all the information you asked for in a timely manner and your issue is with the format it is in?"

Like I'm the pretentious prick who has the temerity to believe that all LSC voting boundaries should be easily accessible in map format instead of requiring that a person wade through webpages, phone calls,voice mail, e-mails and barely legible 23-year-old PDFs to then discover that I get to play connect-the-dots on a map to find out which schools I can vote for LSC council. It is almost as if the CPS central office doesn't really care about the LSCs .

* * *

From: Villasenor, Jose
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 4:42 PM
Subject: Fwd: Schools with LSC Election Voting Districts

Dear Mr. Markel:

Per your request, attached are a file with the 1991 Board Report that established the LSC voting district boundaries of all of multi-area schools then in existence and a file with the LSC voting districts established or revised between 1991 and 2012, including those of Edison Regional Gifted.

In addition to the schools reflected in the attached files, for the 2014 LSC Election the following multi-area schools have LSC voting boundaries that are contiguous with the city limits:

STEM Magnet Academy 1522 West Fillmore

Skinner North Magnet 640 West Scott

Disney II Magnet 3815 North Kedvale

LaSalle II Magnet 1148 North Honore

South Shore Fine Arts Academy 1415 East 70th Street

South Shore International Coll. Prep. HS 1955 East 75th Street

Miles Davis Magnet 6730 South Paulina

Please let us know if there is any other information with which we can assist.

Thanks,

Jose VIllasenor

LSC Relations

Multi-Area Schools Voting District Boundaries (1991 Board Report).pdf

LSC Voting Districts Established or Adjusted Post 9-91.pdf

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 9, 2014


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