Sections:

Article

Board successfully blocks the public from 'Public Participation' for the June 24 Board meeting!... Vitale in Heaven? Ruiz Redeemed? Board members blocked public 'sign in' within five minutes of the June 15 'deadline'...

While the well-rehearsed members of the Chicago Board of Education from time to time make their scripted comments after members of the public try to bring the facts to the public, for the first time in Chicago history, Board of Education President David Vitale and the latest "Chief Executive Officer" ("Interim CEO" for now) Jesse Ruiz had blocked dozens of people (including this reporter) from signing up to speak at the June 24, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education.

The Chicago Board of Education barely had a quorum at its May 27, 2015 meeting, but as usual the Board members voted unanimously and without serious discussion in favor of agenda items increasing privatization and charterization to the tune of millions of dollars. Above, during the Board's May 27 meeting are, left to right, Mahalia Hines, David Vitale, Carlos Azcoitia, and Deborah Quazzo. Not in the photo are Henry Bienen and Andrea Zopp, who took an unexcused absence for the meeting. Jesse Ruiz, who also is the Board's Vice President, was sitting to the front now that he has become "Interim CEO" following the scandals involving the corruption of Barbara Byrd Bennett, who was make CEO by a unanimous vote of the Board in October 2012. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt."The block was on at 10:00 am. when I tried to sign up," Jean Schwab said. "I wanted to sign up as an observer but couldn't even do that." Another Substance staff member, Theresa Daniels, said she was blocked as early as 8:05 a.m. This reporter tried to get in and was blocked by 10:30 a.m.

As regular readers and regular participants in the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meetings know, prior to Rahm Emanuel's appointment of banker David Vitale and wealthy corporate lawyer Jesse Ruiz to head the city's schools, before 2011, the Board of Education meetings would be addressed by as many people who wanted to sign in to speak. Some months, it was only a few dozen people. During months when there were massive issues, more than 100 would sign up to speak. The Board listened no matter how many people signed up.

That changed between 2011 and 2012. Suddenly, a claim that only 60 people would be allowed to sign up to speak was made, and the public was basically locked out of the public meetings. The Board members, if they bothered to speak about it at all, claimed that the number "60" was the magic number. Why? Because each public speaker gets a maximum of two minutes before being cut off-- sometimes to be dragged away from the podium -- no matter how serious the issue begin addressed.

Like most of the logics at America's third largest school system in 2015, the two minute times thirty notion is just designed to keep objections to the Board away from the TV cameras. And as the Board members have long known, when certain groups pack the early minutes of the sign in, as charter school supporters have been doing, the result can be that only a dozen people actually speak. The maximum of 60 is just one of many cynical jokes being played on Chicago by the appointed members of the Board.

With a kind of robotic precision, the Board every month accepts a piece of paper that explains how to sign up for the next Board meeting. "For the June 24, 2015 Board Meeting, advance registration to speak and observe will be available beginning Monday, June 15, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. and will close on Friday, June 19th at 5:00 p.m. or until all slots are filled..." Agendas of the Chicago Board of Education are available at the Board's website. But Rahm's Board, carefully rehearsed to prattle about "transparency," blocks the public at every turn. In order to sign up to speak at a Board meeting, a citizen now has to sign in by computer beginning at eight o'clock in the morning of the Monday a week before the Board meets. For the May 24 meeting, sign-in meant June 15 at eight. By five after eight, it was over. Why? Because the Board's computers lock people out when the number of people who sign in reaches 60 -- no matter what the issues or how many people want to speak.

With a kind of robotic precision, the Board every month accepts a piece of paper that explains how to sign up for the next Board meeting. "For the June 24, 2015 Board Meeting, advance registration to speak and observe will be available beginning Monday, June 15, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. and will close on Friday, June 19th at 5:00 p.m. or until all slots are filled..." Agendas of the Chicago Board of Education are available at the Board's website.

The June 24 Board meeting will be the final meeting for four of the seven members of the Board, two of whom were among the first seven appointed by Rahm Emanuel in May 2011. Those leaving are Carloz Azcoitia, DEborah Quazzo, Andrea Zopp and Henry Bienen. Zopp and Bienen have been on the Board since May 2011. Azcoitia and Quazzo were appointed by Emanuel after Penny Pritzker and the Board's token Latino left after a couple of years. Quazzo took what some called the "millionaire's seat" (altough her predecessor Penny Pritzker was a billionaire) and Azcoitia took the "0ther Latino" seat (Jesse Ruiz also fills that place when the photographers photograph "Rahm's Rainbow").

The departing Board members will be at their final meeting on June 24, if they bother to attend.

Unlike the rest of the United States, Chicago selects its Board members and top education executives in secret. The two main locations advertising vacancies for positions in school districts are Education Week and The New York Times Weekly Review. The Chicago Board of Education has never advertised for Board members of to executives in those places. All are selected via a secret process known only to the mayor and a few insiders. The Chicago Sun-Times recently exposed part of that process in a major story that referred to the Chicago Board of Education at "President Centric" -- which means David Vitale is the dictator.

The departing Board members will be replaced by a new group of appointed Board members selected secretly by Rahm Emanuel. The new Board members, supposedly appointed for "four year terms," will begin their public meetings at the July 2015 Board meeting. One of their first duties will be to affirm the Board's version of financial reality by overseeing the public hearings and then the vote on the "Final" budget for the 2015 - 2016 school year (officially, FY 2016). Despite the fact that none of the replacements has ever been to a Board of Education meeting or been active in CPS affairs, by virtue of their appointment by Emanuel they become the top leaders in public education in the city. Most observers expect that they will fill their roles with the same smugness already known to be the way their predecessors have behaved.



Comments:

June 17, 2015 at 7:00 PM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

My discrepancy--5 minutes or 8 at Bd sign-up

I went on-line at 8:05 a.m. as this article states, but by the time I realized I couldn't sign up as a speaker and the signed up just as an observer, it was 8:08 a.m. as my comment under the other article states. I wanted to account for the apparent discrepancy in my comment here. As I stated in my first comment,I hope there are others who report here if they tried to sign up as speakers before 8:08 a.m. (or 8:05 a.m.)

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

5 + 3 =