Parents don’t want elections to be dominated by politics and money, but the new law has very few limitations on how candidates can raise or spend money for their campaigns.
Vendors with CPS contracts are not allowed to donate to campaigns–a clear conflict of interest. Outside of that, normal state campaign finance laws govern how campaign funds can be raised and spent. This means that candidates can raise:
- Up to $6,000 from an individual.
- Up to $12,000 from a corporation or union.
- Up to $59,900 from a political action committee or another candidate’s committee.
- If any individual donates more than $100,000 to their own campaign, then these contributions limits are lifted for all candidates in that race.
- Illinois State Board of Elections, 2021 Contribution Limits
- Illinois State Board of Elections, Campaign Disclosure Acts and Rules
In Los Angeles, school board races have turned into big money contests between pro-charter and pro-union interest groups. There are recent examples of local efforts to limit the influence of money on elections, including a new law limiting contributions in Illinois judicial races and a proposed ordinance in the City of Chicago that would establish a public financing option for municipal elections. These or other efforts could serve as models for how to limit the influence of money in school board elections.
- How L.A.'s school board election became the most expensive in U.S. history (L.A. Times) - May 21, 2017
- After partisan fight, lawmakers approve bill limiting donations in judicial elections (The State Journal Register) - April 8, 2022
- Pritzker signs law banning dark money, out-of-state contributions in judicial campaigns (NPR Illinois) - November 15, 2021
- Can Campaign Finance Be Reformed In Chicago? Ald Wants $250 Cap On Donations From Insiders With ‘Outsized Influence’ (Block Club Chicago) - July 27, 2022