Board agenda shows Ruiz to remain as Board Vice President, while Board continues orgy of privatization -- example, another $3.1 million for AUSL despite the supposed 'financial crisis'... Two 'meetings' scheduled for July 22, 2015, but most of the public doesn't know about the 9:30 one...

Only those who went to the Board of Education's website and read carefully would have known that there were two Board meetings on July 22, 2015. The earlier one, on a massive borrowing plan, requires that people sign up between 8:30 and 9:00 in the lobby of the Board chambers, while the regular meeting begins at 10:30. Contrary to the statement above, the sign-in for the regular meeting did not end on Friday, July 17, 2015, but at 8:05 a.m. on July 13, 2015, when the Board's computers again choked off everyone who wanted to speak but wasn't quick enough.The public agenda for the Chicago Board of Education's July 22, 2015 meeting shows that at least one faction in Chicago's ruling class is digging in its heels and continuing non-stop on the course it has already been on, while perhaps others are showing more confusion about the futures (especially the financial future) of America's third largest public school system. The biggest item on the Board's agenda, which actually results in the "Board" holding two meetings on July 22, is a major borrowing action, fewer than 20 pages long, and incomplete. Hence, the Board's website lists two meetings for July 22:

At 9:30 a.m. the Board will hold a "hearing" about financial matters.

At 10:30 a.m. the "regular" meeting of the Board will begin.

What is certainly not made clear in the Board's public agenda, which was release in the morning of July 20, 2015, is how the "public" is supposed to sign up for the 9:30 "hearing." As readers of Substance know, the Board members, led by Board President David Vitale, have been working overtime for more than a year and a half to choke off the number of people who are allowed to testify at the "public participation" part of each month's Board meeting. Since January 2014, Vitale has ruled, and the Board has enforced, a rule that claims that only 60 people can sign up to speak during the public participation portions of the Board meetings. The result is that fewer than half the people who wish to speak are allowed to sign up before the Board computers close off the sign-in.

The sign up for the July 22, 2015 Board meeting was cut off within five minutes -- FIVE MINUTES! -- after it began at 8:00 a.m. on July 13, 2015. I know because I was in the middle of signing in at 8:04 a.m. with, supposedly, seven slots left. By the time I got finished putting in my address and other information, I was locked out. Other people told me that their attempts to sign in were blocked at around 8:05 or a little later.

Since January 2015, there have never been more than 30 people actually speaking at the Board meetings, since another trick the Board uses to choke off public comment on its policies and actions is to "group" speakers. In practice, the "grouping" has meant that critics of Board policies are limited to one or two speakers, while those organized to praise Board policies (especially those speaking on behalf of the city's most corrupt charter schools, like UNO and Noble) are allowed to bunch up five, six or more speakers.

Few examples of the bankruptcy of "diversity politics" can be more clear than the current racial and ethnic battles in Chicago over who should join the corporate "school reform" people on Rahm Emanuel's appointed school board. On July 18, 2015 (above), the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a group of Latino aldermen (not all are Hispanic) complained that Rahm Emanuel was snubbing Jesse Ruiz, ignoring the fact that Ruiz stood shoulder to shoulder with the most corrupt decisions of Board of Education President David Vitale during Vitale's corrupt four years as President of the Board -- when Ruiz was vice president. Most of the aldermen who spoke out for Ruiz (not all, most) have also promoted the most corrupt charters schools in "their" wards since the Chicago charter schools juggernaut began undermining the city's real public schools, both educationally and financially. Above, the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on Ruiz's support, July 18, 2015. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in Paris (France!) and unavailable for comment during these past few days.If the public agenda now available for the July 22, 2015 Board meeting is to be believed, Jesse Ruiz is not leaving the Board of Education now that Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who was, by the way, in Paris while the agenda was being published) has appointed two new cronies to run the schools. Some observers thought that Ruiz, like David Vitale whom Ruiz had served so loyally, would be leaving the Board. After all, the Board will now have a new "President" (Frank Clark, the charter school promoter and school closing overseers) and a new "Chief Executive Officer" (Forrest Claypool, who was named after the founder of the Ku Klux Klan). But Ruiz is going back from being "Interim Chief Executive Officer" to being Board Vice President.

Buried deep in the 200-page agenda is a Board Report approving an additional $3.1 million for AUSL, the "Academy for Urban School Leadership," which has been undermining the city's real public schools for a decade. David Vitale was a member of the Board of Directors of AUSL at the time Rahm Emanuel appointed him President of the Board in May 2011. The current CPS "Chief Administrative Officer," Tim Cawley, was an executive with AUSL at the same time, and became CAO in May 2011.

The July 22 Board Report giving away the additional $3.1 million to AUSL, while continuing to blame the CPS financial problems on the so-called "pension crisis," states as follows:

"COMPENSATION: The Professional Development School program was allocated at a rate of $33,000 per teacher resident. An additional program evaluation at $350,000 was made for each participating school that served as a training academy with 10 or more teacher residents onsite (sic) and $265,000 for each participating school that served as training site with 8 or more starting teacher (sic, sic). Residents onsite. AUSL shall be paid the sum of $3,100,000."

As usual, the Chicago Board of Education has made it impossible for the majority of those who would like to comment critically about such matters to speak. I began signing up to speak on July 13 at about 8:04 a.m., when there were still supposedly seven slots still "open" (four minutes after the sign-ins began!). By the time I got done entering all of the required information, the Board's computer had blocked further sign ins. I will be asking the last seven people on the "Public Participation" list some questions at the july 22, 2015 meeting.


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