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Rumored June 14 Chicago Board of Education meeting would be illegal... CPS misses 48 hour notice Open Meetings Act requirement for publication of the agenda for the meeting

Rumors abounded in Chicago between June 7, when the heat wave began taking its toll on the schools, and Friday, June 10, when things cooled off for a time, that the newly appointed Chicago Board of Education would hold a special (emergency) meeting on Tuesday, June 14. The special meeting was ostensibly to announce another "fiscal emergency" of the kind that the former Board of Education called on June 15, 2010.

But as the noon hour passed on June 10, 2011, it became clear that the new school board would not be holding any kind of meeting, at least on June 14, 2011.

Jean-Claude Brizard (right) at the South Loop Elementary School on June 2, 2011. Photo Linda Lutton.The Illinois Open Meetings Act clearly requires that an agenda be published at least 48 hours prior to any school board meeting. Unless the June 14 meeting supposedly planned by Chicago is going to be held in the evening on June 14, the deadline came and went by noon on Friday, June 10. The language of the law is precise. The agenda must be available to the public at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, and the clock ticks on business days (weekends and holidays are not included). Generally, the Chicago Board of Education posts its meeting agendas at its offices and on its website by 10:30 a.m. on the Monday of the week of the meeting (meetings take place on Wednesdays). The agenda for a Tuesday meeting such as the one rumored for June 14 would have had to be published on Friday because of the weekend. It wasn't.

At the end of the day on June 10, the CPS website still listed no major events before June 15. Key upcoming events (according to CPS) as of noon on June 10 were:

June 15... Legacy Charter School Public Hearing

June 15... Plato Learning Academy Public Hearing

June 16... All Tracks: No Classes, Staff Day Only

According to the most recent guidelines regarding the Illinois Open Meetings Act, the agenda for a regular or special meeting must be published at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. The publication deadline excludes weekends and holidays.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan writes: "Public notice of any special meeting except a meeting held in the event of a bona fide emergency, or of any rescheduled regular meeting, or of any reconvened meeting, shall be given at least 48 hours before such meeting, which notice shall also include the agenda for the * * * meeting." 5 ILCS 120/2.02(a). "Notice of an emergency meeting shall be given as soon as practicable, but in any event prior to the holding of such meeting, to any news medium which has filed an annual request for notice" under subsection 2.02(b) of the Act (5 ILCS 120/2.02(b)). 5 ILCS 120/2.02(a).

The Chicago Board of Education has routinely violated the Freedom of Information Act since mayoral control began in 1995. Under the Open Meetings Act, a recording must be kept of all discussion that takes place during Closed Sessions of the Board of Education meetings. Closed sessions are permitted under the law to discuss certain specific matters, but the recordings and other records of the closed sessions cannot be kept secret forever. At the present time, the Chicago Board of Education has voted (every six months) to maintain the secrecy of all of its closed sessions since July 1995, when the Board of Education was taken over by former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Substance has a standing request for notification of all meetings of the Chicago Board of Education and did not receive an agenda as of noon on June 10, 2011.



Comments:

June 10, 2011 at 9:15 PM

By: Danny

Mills leaving?

Just heard that Area 26 (and 25) CAO Rick Mills is leaving for...Minneapolis (after months of rumors that he was going to Flordia.)

Anyone in the know who can verify this?

June 13, 2011 at 7:47 AM

By: John Kugler

No Notice

as of June 13, 2011 6:46 am no notice

June 13, 2011 at 8:41 PM

By: Sam Duarte

What I heard...

I had two AP's at my school tell me that he is leaving.

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