Julian HS Local School Council Questions Communications from Huberman Administration

Nearly three weeks after the principal they had selected fewer than two years earlier was removed by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman in a media event in part orchestrated by the CPS central office, the Julian High School Local School Council met at the school on the evening of April 23 and began to hear explanations of the school's proposed school improvement plan (SIPPA) and budget from interim principal Careda Taylor.

Above, members of the Julian High School Local School Council meeting on the evening of April 23, 2009. On the right is interim principal Careda Taylor. In the center (wearing glasses) is Julian LSC president Larry McDonald. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.LSC President Larry McDonald reminded Ms. Taylor during the sometimes heated meeting that she was "interim" principal, despite the fact that she had been appointed directly by the CEO. The meeting was primarily devoted to an explanation of the proposed school improvement plan and reported deficits in the budget. One bright spot in the meeting came when Ms. Taylor assured the LSC that the proposed Julian budget for the 2009-2010 school year did not include serious cuts in teaching positions, as some had reported. According to Ms. Taylor, only one existing program -- fashion design -- was in jeopardy. Late in the day on April 3, 2009, the day students went home for Spring Vacation, CPS issued a press release stating that two principals -- Clifton Hunt, principal of Oglesby, 7646 S. Green, and Darreyl Young-Gibson, principal of Julian, 10330 S. Elizabeth -- both were removed from their positions "effective immediately."

Sources at the schools reported that the principals were unceremoniously removed from their posts late in the school day on Friday, April 3, 2009. Julian parents, students and staff noted that the move was accompanied by little explanation to staff, parents, or students. One staff member at one of the school described a procedure that was "designed to achieve maximum humiliation" of the principal.

Further investigation has revealed that members of the Local School Council were left in the dark as long as possible at the time of the event, and that the Board basically put the school on what LSC members have called "lockdown" in order to remove Darreyl Young-Gibson from the building. The Huberman administration also staged the Julian removal on April 3 as a major media event, informing TV crews before informing most of the staff, students, or the LSC.

As of April 22, CPS still had not officially charged Darreyl Young-Gibson with anything. She is currently assigned to the offices of "Area 23" of CPS (not Area 24, where Julian is located).

One of the members of the Local School Council indicated that there had been growing dissatisfaction with Young-Gibson, and that concerns about security had grown during recent months as factions of the Gangster Disciples street gang became more bold both inside and around the school (see gang photos in this month's Substance OnLine edition and in the March 2009 print edition of Substance).

Although interim principal Taylor told the LSC that the fashion design program would probably be eliminated, the members of the LSC stated that they wanted the program to continue and that they also hoped that Julian would be able to expand vocational education programs.

Preliminary posting April 24, noon. Updates to conclude and story locked in by midnight April 24, 2009.