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BOARDWATCH: Board resumes secret closed sessions, beings process of withholding 'Action Agendas' for more than a week after Board votes

Despite claims that under the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel (and a recent award to City Hall for it), the Chicago Public Schools continues to refuse so-called "transparency" in its public dealings. As of the morning of April 4, 2012, the Board of Education still had not published the "Agenda of Action" from its meeting of March 28, 2012. The so-called "Action Agenda" includes all Board Reports that were brought before the Board in closed session, but which have to be voted on at the public meeting of the Board.

One of the victories of the Civil Rights and human rights struggles that many of us engaged in during our lifetimes has resulted in a diversity on most major oppressive bodies established and subservient to the ruling class and the corporate capitalist agenda. Above, three of the members of the Chicago Board of Education at the Board's March 28, 2012 meeting. Left to right, Mahalia Hines, a retired principal and one of the two African American members of the seven-member Board of Education; Jesse Ruiz, Vice President of the Board, who never misses a chance to remind people that his roots are in Humboldt Park and along Division Street while he votes slavishly for the agenda set by Mayor Rahm Emanuel; and David Vitale, the millionaire banker who has served in dozens of lucrative executive positions in the private sector. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.At its February 22, 2012, meeting, the Board also voted to maintain as secret the closed session discussions from its January 2012 meeting. Among the items that came out of closed session at the Board's stormy February 22 meeting was a motion, approved by the Board, to pay one law firm (Franczek Radelet) $500,000 and another law firm (Jones Day) $250,000. The three quarters of a million dollar for outside lawyers is the greatest amount approved by the Board at one meeting for outside legal counsel in CPS history. The Rahm Emanuel Board of Education has already expanded the CPS Law Department, which occupies virtually all of the 7th floor at 125 S. Clark St., to the largest size in its history. Board members have never discussed why with so many lawyers working for the Board, the Board has to spend millions of dollars per year on outside lawyers as well.



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