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School-Level Control Still Under Attack -- Even As New Forms Take Shape

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When elected officials talk about "local control," they usually mean states and districts. But in some places, local control means really local -- like at the school level. It's a messy business, however, and in Illinois the Board and the mayor are now pushing changes so that elected school councils have to have approval before not renewing a principal's four-year contract (Chicago school leaders seek to limit LSC power Tribune). In New York City, the once-powerful parent councils that used to run the city's community school districts can barely scare up enough folks to fill the vacant seats (A Lack of Interest in New System´┐Żs School Parent Councils NYT).

Interesting to note that, at the same time, some reformers are talking about a new form of local control -- autonomy zones and such that would give school buildings more control over how they spend their money. But without, it seems, the community and parent oversight of the old school models.

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School Boards need fiscal autonomy in order to keep local control.

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