IPACE, the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education, exists to elect individuals to the Illinois General Assembly, statewide offices, and local school boards who will make a difference for quality education.
What are the goals of IPACE?
Since its creation in 1971, IPACE has channeled the force of thousands of organized education employees into many constructive relationships with candidates and elected representatives.
IPACE has developed procedures for interviewing and recommending candidates in both political parties for political office driven by IEA members from local associations. The purpose is to give the decision-making authority to the members who are committed to political action. They decide which candidates deserve to be recommended. Each political year, numerous meetings are held around the state to recommend political candidates. At these meetings, local IEA members participate in the recommendations process.
A companion goal of IPACE is to enlist IEA members as participants in the campaigns of recommended candidates. IPACE elects a high percentage of its recommended candidates, retaining and winning many pro-education friends.
IPACE maintains a working relationship with all elected representatives in order to fight effectively for pro-public education bills in the General Assembly.
What is the actual structure of IPACE?
IPACE consists of three entities: local PACE committees, legislative district committees, and the state IPACE executive committee. While the committees work together, each committee is responsible for recommendations for certain elections:
- Local PACE Committee – Chaired by local presidents. They are responsible for recommendations in local school board races and referendum elections.
- Legislative District Committee – Consists of all local presidents, or designees, in a specific legislative area. They are responsible for the district recommendations for their legislative district.
- State IPACE Executive Committee – Consists of the IEA officers and 13 IEA board members. They forward all statewide recommendations to the IEA Board of Directors, concur with legislative recommendations, and determine the IPACE budget, rules, and contribution levels.
Why is the IEA politically involved at all?
Not all politicians care about the needs of public education. If we did not work for candidates who support our concerns, the fate of schoolchildren and public school employees would wind up in the hands of legislators who may be opposed to furthering quality public education or closing it down permanently.
What about political affiliation?
Recommendations are based on the candidate’s record of support and performance on public education issues. IPACE supports the “education party” candidates. Recommendations are not determined by partisan politics.
Is IPACE money spent on presidential elections?
NO. IPACE is organized as an Illinois Political Action Committee. Our charter and state laws limit our expenditures to state and local candidates, and issues.
How are IPACE-recommended candidates selected?
IEA-IPACE is only concerned with policy and legislation that governs education in Illinois. IPACE money goes to support pro-education candidates. Recommendations are made in accordance with education issues only.
What are IPACE funds used for, and how are they distributed?
More than half of all IPACE monies are used as direct campaign contributions. The remainder is used for encouraging member involvement in the political and policy process, i.e. legislative breakfasts, school tours, etc.
How does IPACE affect my local association?
Your local is directly affected by the people who represent you in the General Assembly and on local school boards. Through IPACE, you can help elect friends of education.
What services does IPACE provides for my local association?
IPACE sponsors programs such as legislative breakfasts and school tours. Both are designed to give members direct access to their recommended candidates and legislators.
Publications available through IPACE include the “IPACE Recommendation Procedures” and the “Legislative Platform.”
IPACE requests $30.00 per member. A member can request an IPACE refund form between September 1 and December 15 and have their contribution returned. That refund form must be completed and mailed to the IPACE office, postmarked by December 31 of the current school year. Those members whose refund form is received and processed by IPACE lose all voting privileges in IPACE meetings.
Local associations may also request an IPACE rebate. These funds are to be used for local campaign expenses, local election activities, school bond/tax referenda and related expenses, and as direct contributions to recommended candidates for local elections.
To receive the IPACE rebate, a local association must submit a written request to the Government Relations department. This request should include the name of the local, the name of the local president and/or local treasurer and the mailing address where the check is to be sent.
A Level I request allows the local association to receive $6.00 per IPACE-contributing member. If a Level II request is made, the local association will receive $9.00 per IPACE-contributing member. A local association may request the Level I and II rebates at the same time for a total of $15.00 — this must be included in the letter. Any requests over this amount must be forwarded to the IPACE Executive Committee as a “Special Request” for their approval.
The remainder of the IPACE dollars are used for membership political activities and contributions to IPACE recommended legislators.