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CORRUPTION CPS: Why is CPS's 'Mister Cover Up,' Jesse Ruiz, making sure the Board continues to violate the spirit (if not the technical letter) of the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act?

Anyone who has reported regularly on the meetings of the Chicago Board of Education and the workings of Chicago Public Schools since the onset of the mayoral control "model" of corporate school reform knows that the agenda has become increasingly devoted to the privatization of the public resources and the re-direction of as many public dollars as possible to private corporations. Long before the doctrines of the religious fanatics who pursue the gospels of "Atlas Shrugged" became virtually explicit at places like the headquarters of the nation's third largest school system, a regular observer or reporter could notice that the Chicago Board of Education's public agenda, which by law has to be published 48 hours before the meeting, was including more and more items which basically amounted to additional privatization.

As usual, at its April 22, 2015 meeting, the Chicago Board of Education voted once again to continue the cover up of the discussions -- if any -- that its members had, and have had, during "Closed Session" on items on the public and Closed Session agendas. For all the talk about more openness in CPS affairs, the President of the Board (David Vitale) and the Vice President (Jesse Ruiz) have been covering up most of the Board's debates, if any, on controversial actions since they went to their first Board meetings in June 2011 after being appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Even the controversial SUPES contract, which the Board members voted to approve unanimously at their June 2013 meeting, was on the public agenda. The cover up was that the controversial no-bid $20.5 million contract was item #51 out of the 52 items listed under "Purchasing." Only someone willing to read -- and understand -- the more than 300 pages on the official agenda might even have raised questions at the time.

So when the Board members voted to approve Board Report 15-0422-MO2, nothing had really changed. Oh, the President and Vice President of the Board went to a press conference, which they had been avoiding for four years, and spoke to the press (including some on the side flattery to one or two reporters) while continuing the general cover up and disrespect for Freedom of the Press that they had inaugurated when they assumed power in June 2011 after their appointment by Rahm Emanuel. At that time, the Board voted to hire a former aide to Rod Blagojevich, Becky Carroll, at the unprecedented salary of $165,000 per year to be "Chief Communications Officer." Not only did the Board stop holding press conference, or answering most reporters' questions, but Carroll's office even tried to refuse to provide some reporters (this reporter and Substance) with announcements about Board press conference, such as they rarely were.



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