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Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking Elected Chicago School Board

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit backed by former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn calling for an elected school board in the city of Chicago.

Quinn and some city residents filed two similar lawsuits last fall, arguing, in part, that the lack of an elected school board denied residents' First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights under the U.S Constitution. One lawsuit was filed in federal court, while the other was filed in state court in Cook County, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Elaine Bucklo dismissed the federal lawsuit, writing that the plaintiffs had no fundamental right by law to vote in school board elections, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. 

"And the fact that residents of other Illinois jurisdictions have the privilege of voting in such elections in their districts does not confer such a right upon residents of Chicago," Bucklo wrote.

Chicago is the only school district in the state of Illinois that does not have an elected school board. Under a 1995 law, school board members are appointed by the city's mayor. 

In the city's 2015 primary election, voters in 37 wards overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution supporting an elected school board. (The question was not on the ballot in all 50 wards.)

Last year, a state House bill calling for an end to an appointed school board in Chicago in favor of an elected board passed by a 110-4 vote. But the bill did not make it to a Senate vote.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the lawsuit in Cook County is still pending and a hearing on whether to dismiss it is scheduled for later in February.

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