CPZ VirtualTownhalls 2023SPRINGFIELD –To keep constituents informed of what policies are being discussed in Springfield, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is holding four monthly town halls over the course of the spring legislative session.

“During my tenure as a public servant, I have utilized a shared governance model where I do not just represent my own interests in Springfield, but ideas and issues that are important to my constituents,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “These town halls will cultivate a direct line of communication between myself and folks in my community during times I am working on legislation—making sure their voices are heard before I take legislative action.”  

During each Town Hall meeting, the Senator will give her community a rundown of current and upcoming legislation. This will allow constituents to give feedback on any policy issues they would like to be introduced before the session ends, or voice their concerns or support of issues she is working on as a part of the broader people’s agenda for the 20th District.

The four meetings will be on January 31, March 1, April 11, and May 31st. All town halls will last from 6-7 p.m. Spanish interpretation will be available throughout the event.

To pre-register for the first town hall on Jan. 31st, go to http://www.bit.ly/CPZSESSION or watch via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/SenatorPacioneZayas/.

Category: Press Releases

cpz 010523CM0107SPRINGFIELD – To provide more transparency and due process in the current hiring process for principals in the Chicago Public School system, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas, in collaboration with Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, introduced a new initiative to grant Local School Councils (LSC) access to the universe of qualified applicants for these vital positions—ensuring viable candidates are not overlooked, and underqualified applicants are not chosen over their peers.

“Current policies have caused some schools to hire administrators who did not meet the roles and expectations set, and this legislation will help address those issues,” said Senator Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “Administrators lead and determine how schools operate, so by ensuring that each school can see the full scope of applicants, we are providing greater access to select those best qualified for the position.”

Currently, aspiring principals face rigorous standards to be licensed by the state and must go through a second eligibility determination process when applying to Chicago Public Schools. After passing this unclear vetting process, candidates interested in a particular school must submit their credentials to the entire CPS system for the first round of vetting, not the school they are interested in.

Additionally, LCSs do not get to look over the entire candidate pool, and only have access to the group CPS advances, even if other candidates were also eligible. This has led to issues in many schools in the CPS system, including a principal being hired who was not fluent in a language of instruction at a two-way bilingual school which compromised the principal’s primary function of evaluating teachers in the language of instruction. The lack of transparency in the current CPS hiring process did not grant the LSC full view of other potential candidates who may have been fluent in the languages of instruction.

To address this and other oversights, this legislation increases transparency for principal eligibility applicants by making public the rubric and scoring threshold for passing each step in the process, allows for due process when candidates do not advance to the next stage of evaluation, and gives Local School Councils access to the entire eligible pool of candidates. These protections give LSCs a more diverse pool of candidates to select from—some of whom may be more qualified to be leaders in schools than the narrower pool that CPS may have advanced. Further, it allows greater opportunity for equity by informing candidates of deficiencies and resources for professional improvement. Senator Pacione-Zayas is confident this change will make the hiring process work better not just for aspiring principals, but also for students, educators, and the wider school community.

“Students and school communities lose out when great leaders are arbitrarily excluded from eligibility,” Troy LaRaviere, President of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, said. “On behalf of the 1100 men and women who lead Chicago’s public schools, I thank all of the General Assembly members for passing HB 5285, which will bring more transparency to the hiring process.”

“Principals and administrators play a meaningful role in the success of our schools and students and are arguably the primary driver of positive school outcomes and success,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Our students and faculty deserve to know the process applicants undergo, and Local School Councils should have access to the full list of eligible candidates to review as they pick who is best fit for the job as principal.”

House Bill 5285 passed both chambers on January 10, 2023.  It now awaits the Governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

CPZQuote 2023 FBSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas took the oath of office to serve as State Senator for the 20th District Wednesday, and is eager to hit the ground running in her second term with new policies to support her community and ensure effective implementation of her past legislative wins.

“In my first term, we were able to enact historic legislation addressing systemic racism, promoting early childhood development and investing in violence prevention,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I can’t wait to continue to fight for transformational change in the General Assembly in this new term.”

Pacione-Zayas became a Senator in 2020 and quickly introduced a progressive agenda focused on early childhood care and education, empowering local school councils, housing stabilization and supporting the early childhood workforce. When the Senate was not in legislative session, Pacione-Zayas organized many community initiatives, including policy roundtables where community members could discuss policy solutions to issues affecting them, launched a 20th district youth council to involve young people in the public policy process, provided vaccination clinics to promote community wellness, and open houses to meet her constituents in person for them to understand the role and function of the district office.

Senator Pacione-Zayas represents the 20th Senate District, including the neighborhoods of Albany Park, Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, Humbolt Park, Logan Square, Irving Park, Roscoe Village, Bucktown, North Center, and Lakeview in Chicago.

Pacione-Zayas was among all 59 state senators sworn into office today to serve in Illinois’ 103rd General Assembly.

Category: Press Releases

05292021CM0361SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is proud to highlight investments to many programs for the community of the 20th District from the supplemental budget recently passed by the Illinois State Senate—including a mutli-million dollar investment to a local organization fighting gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods.

“Housing insecurity is a major issue impacting folks in my community and across the state,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am thrilled that we are not only making investments to address housing insecurity, but that funding is going directly to community-led organizations who witness these issues firsthand and are best equipped to support people experiencing this.”

The supplemental budget provides $75 million for housing programs at the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). $5 million of this funding will go to the Here to Stay Community Land Trust—an anti-displacement effort created by neighbors in Logan Square, Avondale and Hermosa to fight gentrification and keep housing affordable.

Additionally, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will receive $162 million to help support people seeking asylum in Illinois, with an additional $20 million for the City of Chicago’s initiatives to support people seeking asylum.

“Our neighbors and local organizations showed up to welcome people seeking asylum over the summer, but there is always more we can do to help people find permanent housing, jobs, health care and schools,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This budget allocation will help folks get connected to these essential resources, and support the hardworking people who are supporting asylum seekers get settled in our community.”

$3 million will also be allocated to state designated cultural districts—which Pacione-Zayas helped to establish a designation process in the past General Assembly.

“The purpose of state designated cultural districts is to spur economic development through cultural institutions and innovative strategies to stabilize communities experiencing displacement and gentrification,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Their legacy needs to be preserved, and investing in these communities will help provide support so that they can continue to flourish.”

The supplemental budget, filed under House Bill 969, passed the Senate on Jan. 10, 2023. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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