Board votes 'Warning Resolution' against several principals, including Prescott's Erin Roche

Two hours after the tumultuous public representations at the final meeting of the Chicago Board of Education for 2009, the Board emerged from Executive Session and voted on several important resolutions which had to be kept off the public agenda because they concerned personnel matters.

Prescott Elementary School Principal Erin Roche (above, fourth from left at the school's May 12, 2009 Local School Council meeting) was one of several principals issued a Warning Resolution by vote of the Chicago Board of Education at the Board's meeting on December 16, 2009. The Board Report containing the Warning Resolution did not specify the problems that led to the Board action. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Among other votes, the Board issued a Warning Resolution to the principal of Prescott Elementary School, Erin Roche. The specific reasons for the Warning Resolution were not disclosed. Roche was one of several principals to receive the Warning Resolutions.

Because Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman has been illegally delaying the release of the final actions of the Board of Education meetings for the past seven months, the public may not be able to read the complete Agenda of Action from the December 16 meeting on the Board's Web site until after Christmas. Although the Board vote is supposed to be the final legal action on any Board Report brought to the Board — and although the Agenda is supposed to include all matters of public record under the Illinois Open Meetings Act — since June 2009, Huberman has been keeping the final actions of the Board to himself for days (and sometimes weeks) following the Board votes.

In other actions from Executive Session, the Board also voted to fire two of the four teachers who ran afoul of the so-called Fresh Start program at Wells High School. In one of those cases, the Board voted to ignore a hearing officer recommendation that the teacher be retained.

When the Board emerged from Executive Session, Huberman was not present. The Board meeting was adjourned without Huberman returning to the Board chambers.

Substance had told Monique Bond, the Board's Communications Chief, that we wanted to talk with Huberman following the executive session to ask him for a list of all elementary and high schools that could be closed under the "School Closing" policy that Huberman outlined in a Power Point presentation to the Board. Huberman was not available for questions following the Board meeting and has been routinely avoiding press conferences and other open availabilities to the press. 


December 18, 2009 at 12:12 AM

By: Finally


Now what's next for Roche?

December 18, 2009 at 2:55 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Principals who received Warning Resolutions, reality check

The content of each Warning Resolution is usually not published in the actual resolution. Therefore, it's not even possible, based on the public record, to know why the Board acted. However, one of the signal things that happened at the Board meeting of December 16, 2009, was that for the first time in history, the Board issued more Warning Resolutions against principals than it did against teachers. The Board fired more teachers (it's called "Dismissal") on December 16 (including two of the "Wells Four"), but there were more principals than teachers announced. Anyone who watches the full Board meeting (including the actions that were taken when the Board emerged from Executive Session) will be able to see this.

The Board Reports on each of these should be up on the Board's Web site by Monday, if tradition is being followed. The Board Report(s) become legal once the Board members have voted (even though there were only four present and voting by the end of the day Wednesday).

However, another unprecedented thing about the agenda Wednesday was the unusual number of "Draft" Board Reports on the agenda. Apparently, Ron Huberman is trying to make legal the illegal editing he did beginning in May or June when he held back the Agenda of Action because he was more or less fixing each Board Report before it became part of the public record. A "Draft" Board Report can be changed, and no member of the Board even questioned why they were being told by the Secretary (Estala Beltran) as she read the agenda that more than half their business was "Draft on Agenda..."

As to Roche?

It may have helped that teachers from Prescott and other schools had the courage to speak out at the Board meetings last school year and during the summer. When teachers and parents speak out together -- with facts such as the facts of the way in which programs at Prescott were being manipulated -- it gets the Board's attention, if only to motivate some people in administration to improve their cover ups.

December 18, 2009 at 7:34 PM

By: bac

Divine Intervention

Hopefully a warning resolution is the first step toward Roche's removal from Prescott.

December 20, 2009 at 9:46 AM

By: insider

This is nothing but a slap on the wrist

I hate to tell everyone, but this "action" is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for someone who should have been fired. He didn't get in trouble because of the programs at Prescott and how parents spoke out (however I'm sure that this didn't hurt), he got in trouble because of the finances that he left at Ravenswood. He destroyed this building and the Inspector General's office recommended further disciplinary actions but the Board elected to give him a warning. It never ceases to amaze me! He can steal, and not get fired but someone can live out of the city and you'd think they'd committed a federal crime. Isn't there something wrong with this? Keep working those of you at Prescott! A leopard doesn't change his spots overnight. He will do something again.

December 20, 2009 at 10:21 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Ravenswood and Prescott prevented a cover-up

Since I was fired by a vote of the Chicago Board of Education nearly ten years ago for publishing the facts (the CASE tests; one of the bigger ironies in Chicago journalistic history is that I was fired with silence from corporate media in this town for publishing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — the actual CASE tests!) and speaking the truth, I've had some serious time to watch the hypocrisy of the manner in which CPS metes out rewards and punishments in the era of corporate "school reform." Things were always interesting here, but since Mayor Daley became Fuehrer of CPs thanks to the Amendatory Act of 1995, what was once minor league hypocrisy and cronyism has become Major League and now World Class (without the Big Lie out of Chicago, Race to the top would not exist; now the infection is spreading nationally, with Chicago's corporate lies as the Typhoid Mary of this whole pandemic...).

The little truth tellings can add up, and we shouldn't discourage them.

While it may be true, Insider, that Roche has not paid for all the things he did, he would still be flying high if the LSC and teachers at Ravenswood, followed by the teachers (but not most of the LSC) at Prescott hadn't insisted that the facts mattered.

There are in our "graphics" files a dozen separate instances where teachers from Prescott stood up at meeting of the Chicago Board of Education and recited, often in the face of threats to their professional careers, the facts and the truth. Earlier, Ravenswood people tried to do that, first to the Board and then on the blogs. Finally, the Ravenswood people stood up at the same Board meeting as some of the Prescott people. It couldn't have been easy for any of them. In the face of tyranny, freedom and dignity are never won cheaply.

At every point, CPS, under Arne Duncan and under Ron Huberman (Paul Vallas was the one who went after me, but he was before Roche's time), on orders from their master Richard M. Daley, were firmly committed to the cover-up. And to going after the people who told the truth in the face of official lies. One of the longstanding jokes I've shared with people was that the "inspector General" has been inspecting the whistle blowers and helping power suppress the truth since the days when they had a bent former sheriff's deputy (named Lemuel Hogue) working full-time to get me in trouble or fired on orders from Paul Vallas (and his master).

The majority of people in CPS know the truth, but that majority is still afraid to even read it (here, or in the pages of our print edition of Substance), let alone stand up for it. (For every ten people who tell me they're going to subscribe, two do. The rest are afraid to even be on our mailing list, a sad fact about how hard is our struggle).

I have nothing but respect for the handful of teachers, parents, students, and others facing the problems of Chicago's dwindling number of public schools who stand up, in their own names, and tell the truth.

The liars and the coverups may have looked powerful and omnipotent at one time, but now that the Chicago Board of Education has the highest suicide rate (if the CPD is to be believed)— just as the Chicago City Council has the highest incarceration rate — of any town in the USA, justice slowly arrives — even in Chicago. And as those facts sink in across the USA, a lot more eyes will be on Arne Duncan's latest crop of national lies, along with the whole sick history of the eight years he worked to privatize and destroy public education in Chicago.

The truth has a chance to come out. And as it does, it's thanks to the people who stand up and tell the truth in the face of all the powerful lies spewing daily around this town. By the time you might have a chance of reading, seeing, or hearing the truth in the official sources of "news" in Chicago, you've known the facts for a long long time and wondered, even longer, why so many lies can be bought and retold so cheaply for so long.

If more people came forward, more of this would happen. So don't get discouraged because the first iteration is a "slap on the wrist."

December 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM

By: Who Is His Patron?

This is Starting to Stink

Because Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman has been illegally delaying the release of the final actions of the Board of Education meetings for the past seven months, the public may not be able to read the complete Agenda of Action from the December 16 meeting on the Board's Web site until after Christmas.

It's after Christmas. Where is the Agenda of Action?

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