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BOARDWATCH: Claypool Hiring Cover-up Continues... The current 'Chief Executive Officer' of Chicago's public schools continues covering up histories of his executive hires at CPS while corporate media pushes FOIA requests over against City Hall...

Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool (in blue tie, second from left) held a sidebar at the Board of Education's August 26, 2015 meeting with some of the members of his administrative "team." While proclaiming to the corporate media that his administration was "cutting administration" to avoid cuts to the classroom, Claypool was actually doing the opposite -- adding to the administrative team (or people being paid more than $100,000 per year) while reducing the number of classroom teachers, clinicians, and school nurses directly serving students at the city's real public schools. Above, Claypool is send with some of the newly hire (or re-appointed) administrators during his second meeting with the newly appointed Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.During the years since Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated as Mayor of Chicago, City Hall has proclaimed, usually at carefully controlled mayoral press conference, that CPS has "cut bureaucracy to the bone." Substance editor George Schmidt once heard Emanuel claim to a group of reporters that since he took over the schools, the "bureaucracy" had been cut by $600 million -- an impossibility since the CPS bureaucracy, by any count, had never been more than a quarter billion dollars ($250 million). But when Schmidt challenged Emanuel's number in front of more than a dozen other reporters, Emanuel, as is typical, dodged the question, referring Schmidt to Emanuel's large "communications" staff. The question was never answered, and since that day in 2011 Emanuel and his various teams at CPS have claimed, over and over, that they were "trimming administration" at the city's public schools.

But in fact with each new group of leaders (Emanuel is now on his fourth CEO in less than five years) at CPS, positions are added to the top administration -- and approved by a rubber stamp Board of Education (also appointed by Emanuel). Usually outsiders, the new top administrators at CPS are rarely experienced in school administration, and one group, under Barbara Byrd Bennett, was filled with crooks.

Now it's 2016, and the latest administration is trying to cover up the lack of qualifications of its "team."

Forrest Claypool, the current Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, is refusing to provide records of his executive hiring past and current work histories. Claypool was hired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in July 2015, the fourth CEO of CPS since Emanuel was inaugurated mayor in May 2011. In one of the most bold moves to completely cover up all of his executive hiring in the past six months, Claypool has obstructed the release of these documents by denying Substance News' FOIA request for documents showing the past work histories of all his executive staff.

Almost as soon as Forrest Claypool was hired to be "Chief Executive Officer" of CPS in July 2015, he began hiring his personal staff, without regard to whether those people, all of whom are paid in six figures, knew anything about operating a school system. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.A half dozen of Claypool's executive hires have been publicly announced in Board Reports for the Board of Education meetings since July, but CPS officials are refusing to provide the public with any information about the work histories and qualifications of these six-figure executives. The importance of these documents is clear since the most recent CEO, Barbara Byrd Bennett, is now a federally convicted felon. She has pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and influence peddling with her former employers SUPES Academy. SUPES received no-bid CPS contracts worth more than $23 million from CPS. A federal investigation revealed that Byrd Bennett and SUPES agreed that SUPES would pay her 10 percent of that amount as a kickback scheme.

Substance News cannot recall any time in the recent history of FOIA requests when CPS did not provide the past work histories of CPS Executive staff.

It is clear that Claypool believes he is above the law. The cover-up of documents parallels Mayor Rahm Emmanuels pattern of cover-up that has been uncovered with the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video and subsequent emails releases showing a concerted effort to cover-up damaging information.

Exchanges with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General are below showing that it is now three months since the original request for documents:

From: john kugler

Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2016 5:22 AM

To: Barnaby, Shannon

Cc: Access, Public; jjerman@cps.edu

Subject: (No Past work histories- 3 months open FOIA) Re: (Requests Not Complete) Re: Hiring Document cover-up (status)RE: (list of open cases)

Seems like this CPS law department is worse than the one that covered up the federal corruption of Barbara Byrd Bennett. Where are all the resumes or CVs for all the request we made. It is unconscionable that since the last CEO is going to Federal prison for bribery and influence peddling with her past employers that this law department in CPS is covering up all the past work histories of Forrest Claypools executive hiring.

John Kugler, PhD

Substance News

312-203-1534

www.substancenews.net

Substance News - Chicago Public School & Teachers Union ...

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Reporting on Chicago Education, Political, and Labor Union News that focuses on corruption, crony capitalism, and doing what is best for the poorest students in the ...

From: john kugler

Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2015 12:49 AM

To: Barnaby, Shannon

Cc: Access, Public; jjerman@cps.edu

Subject: (Requests Not Complete) Re: Hiring Document cover-up (status)RE: (list of open cases)

Mrs. Barnaby,

None of these requests are complete. After review of the few documents CPS sent two months after the original request. There are missing documents. No resume or CV was included in any of the responses. Due to the Federal Felon Barbara Byrd-Bennett conflicts of interest, it is in the public's interest to have a complete personnel file of each of these Claypool hires. It is impossible to believe that there are no hiring documents that includes the past employment of these hires. Therefore, it is clear all hiring document responses are incomplete. Again there is a convicted federal felon going to prison for conflicts of interest because of her past employment history therefore we need all the past employment histories of the Claypool hires.

Furthermore, the response were incomplete because the district redacted the residency information of the Claypool hires and Katherine Foley. Again the federal felon Barbara Byrd-Bennett was known to live in Ohio while an employee of Chicago Public Schools in violation of the residency laws for CPS employees. The public needs full disclosure on the residency of all of the Claypool hires.

There is one or two more hiring document requests that might be left off this list but CPS and the IAG should have all the appropriate requests for reviews of all the hiring documents requested but Substance News.

Here is one of the many hiring document FOIAs and what was asked for:

Provide all hiring documents for Doug Kucia, including but not limited to, resume, CPS Eligibility Process, all hiring forms, BOARD REPORTS AND APPROVAL, residency forms and affidavits, background check and report, current salary and benefits.

2015 PAC 38123/CPS # N001043-100315 (hiring documents for Doug Kucia)

2015 PAC 38126/CPS # N001046-100315 (hiring documents for Kevin McGuire)

2015 PAC 38127/CPS # N001047-100315 (hiring documents for Randy Ernst)

2015 PAC 38128/CPS # N001048-100315 (hiring documents for Sandra Bello)

2015 PAC 38129/CPS # N001049-100315 (hiring documents for Hendrik Woods)

2015 PAC 38130/CPS #N001050-100315 (hiring documents for Forrest Claypool)

2015 PAC 38131/ CPS #N001051-100315 (hiring documents for Israel Torres)

John Kugler, PhD

Substance News

www.substancenews.net

From: Barnaby, Shannon

Sent: Thursday, December 3, 2015 10:24 PM

To: 'john kugler'

Cc: Access, Public

Subject: RE: Hiring Document cover-up (status)RE: (list of open cases)

Good Afternoon, Mr. Kugler:

I spoke with Ms. Jerman-Milovich and the FOIA Officer for CPS yesterday about the following open Request for Reviews, and was told that they anticipate providing you the responsive records tomorrow, Friday, December 4, 2015:

2015 PAC 38123/CPS # N001043-100315 (hiring documents for Doug Kucia)

2015 PAC 38126/CPS # N001046-100315 (hiring documents for Kevin McGuire)

2015 PAC 38127/CPS # N001047-100315 (hiring documents for Randy Ernst)

2015 PAC 38128/CPS # N001048-100315 (hiring documents for Sandra Bello)

2015 PAC 38129/CPS # N001049-100315 (hiring documents for Hendrik Woods)

2015 PAC 38130/CPS #N001050-100315 (hiring documents for Forrest Claypool)

2015 PAC 38131/ CPS #N001051-100315 (hiring documents for Israel Torres)

Very truly yours,

Shannon Barnaby

Assistant Attorney General

Public Access Bureau

Office of the Illinois Attorney General

100 W. Randolph St.

Chicago, Illinois 60601



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