Huberman, Board members promising complete review of entire closing list before February 24 vote... Mollison definitely off 'Hit List'

Chicago Board of Education members are conducting a "complete review" of the results of the hearings on the proposed radical changes in 14 Chicago public schools prior to the Board's vote at its February 24 meeting, according to Robert Runcie, Chief Administrative Officer of the Chicago Pubic Schools. The Board members have also demanded, for the first time, that they have all the materials pertaining to the proposed changes before them prior to their vote, which is scheduled to take place at the regular February meeting.

Within a week after the announcement that Mayor Daley was appointing her to the Chicago Board of Education, and prior to her election as President of the Board (which has to be done by a vote of the members of the Board), attorney Mary Richardson Lowery (above, second from left) was listening to the testimony of dozens of teachers, parents, and children from Mollison Elementary School and "Wells Prep" school in opposition to a proposal by Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman that Mollison be closed and Wells Prep moved into the Mollison building. Above, Richardson Lowery sat with (left to right) Board of Education member Clare Munana, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Runcie, and Chief of Staff David Pickens during the testimony against the CEO's proposed changes in Mollsion and Wells Prep. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Contrary to some reports on list serves and in blogs that Board members and top administrators of the Huberman administration were preparing to remove a "handful" of schools from what has been characterized as the 2010 'Hit List,' the Board and Huberman have not decided on any schools that will be removed from the list as of February 17, 2010, one week before the Board is scheduled to meet.

The Board members, all but one of whom attended at least one of the 18 hearings that were held at CPS headquarters and in the community (14 were held at CPS; four in the community) are also reviewing the transcripts of the hearings, in addition to the reports of the four hearing officers who conducted the hearings.

In previous years, the only document the Board members had in front of them at the time they voted were the hearing officer reports. Transcripts of the hearings and the complete record of the hearings and materials submitted by the schools (some of which amounted to more than 1,000 pages) were not prepared until after the Board had voted, usually at its February meeting, to end or seriously alter the lives of more than 80 Chicago public schools. The process of altering the schools began in the early years of the 21st Century, but picked up speed following the announcement by Mayor Richard M. Daley that under a plan he called "Renaissance 2010" the city was supposed to create "100 new schools" between 2004 (when "Renaissance 2010" was announced) and 2010.

Under Illinois law and the rule of the Chicago Board of Education, the final agenda for the February 24 meeting has to be published 48 hours prior to the meeting, and the decision on the schools has to be voted on by the seven-member Board of Education at a public meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Board's headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. on February 24, 2010, making February 22 the deadline for the publication of the complete agenda.

School officials have confirmed that a proposal to close Mollison Elementary School at 4415 S. King Drive has been rescinded by Huberman following consultation with Board members and others. The controversial Mollison proposal would have involved the "closing" of Mollison and the reopening of "Wells Prep" at the Mollison site. "Wells Prep" is currently housed within Wendell Phillips High School, at 244 E. Pershing Road. Under the original set of plans unveiled by Huberman on January 19 at a press conference, Phillips High School is supposed to be subjected to "turnaround" under the auspices of the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) because of bad scores on the CPS "Performance Management" matrices. 

Final version of this article posted at at 3:00 a.m. on February 18, 2010. EDITOR'S NOTE ON REPUBLICATION USE. This is copyrighted content, news and analysis prepared and published by the staff and supporters of Substance (the print monthly) and Substance News Service ( Both are publications of Substance, Inc. Chicago, Illinois. The final edited version of this article and the accompanying graphics were posted at www.substance February 18, 2010, 3:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2010 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms. Alternatively, please make a donation or take out a subscription to the print edition of Substance (see red button to the right). We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502. Collegial groups and teachers using this material for class use should simply inform us of the extent of your usage. Anyone utilizing this material for commercial purposes is in violation of U.S. and other international copyright laws. Copyright 2010 Substance, Inc. all rights reserved. 


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