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Board President attends part of South Chicago Elementary closing hearing

For the first time since he began promoting the closings, phasing out, consolidation, and "turnaround" of dozens of Chicago public schools, Chicago Board of Education President Rufus Williams (above, second from right) briefly attended one of the hearings on the closing proposals. For the first half hour of the hearings on the proposed closing of South Chicago Elementary School, Williams sat in the audience with three of his assistants (above). Left to right, unknown Board employee; Carole Wood. Wood's current title is "Manager, Office of the Board of Education" (salary, $95,000 per year), Rufus Williams (unsalaried President, Chicago Board of Education), and Brandi Sandner (current title: "Deputy Chief of Staff, Chicago Board of Education." Salary $145,709 for this year). Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Chicago Board of Education President Rufus Williams attended part of the scheduled hearing on the closing of South Chicago Elementary School on January 29, 2009, at CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark St.

Williams, along with members of his staff, sat for the first portion of the hearing, which included the introduction of the hearing officer, attorney Respicio Vazquez, and the narratives of the Board's Law Department and Demographer on why the school should be closed because it is, according to CPS guidelines, "underutilized."

The hearing on South Chicago was the first of three hearings scheduled for the afternoon and evening of January 29. Neither Williams nor any other Board member attended the later hearings. The hearing on the proposed closing of Peabody Elementary School was held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The hearing on the proposed "phase out" of Carpenter Elementary School was held from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

More than 50 people spoke at each of the later hearings.

Board member Clara Munana was sitting in the Board chambers prior to the beginning of the Peabody hearing at 5:30 p.m. but left abruptly before the hearing was convened.

THE COMPLETE TEXT -- WITH ALL GRAPHICS -- OF THIS ARTICLE WILL BE PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 2009 PRINT EDITION OF SUBSTANCE. THE PRINT EDITION WILL BE MAILED TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS ON FEBRUARY 17, 2009. THE FULL REPORT WILL ALSO INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BUSINESSES AND OTHER LINKS OF THE SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION APPOINTED BY MAYOR RICHARD M. DALEY.



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