Chicago Board of Education schedules August meeting for late afternoon, instead of morning

For the first time since April 2002, the Chicago Board of Education will hold one of its monthly meetings at a time when many more teachers and parents can get to the meeting.

Between May 2002 and July 2009, the Chicago Board of Education met 83 times, always at 10:30 in the morning and always at the Board's well-secured headquarters, four blocks from Chicago's City Hall. The reason for the "banker's hours" and the what many called the paranoid level of security at the Board meetings wasn't, as some claimed later, because of September 11, 2001 (the Board had been meeting during the evenings, in schools across Chicago for six months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center), but because the Board members and CEO Arne Duncan were afraid to face the public at a time and place where the public could attend. Although the August 26, 2009 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education will still be held in what critics call the Board's "Führer Bunker" at 125 S. Clark St., for the first time in more than half a decade the meeting will be in late afternoon, when working parents and teachers might be able to attend. Above, Board President Michael Scott listening to CORE member Carol Caref during the Board July 22, 2009 meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.At its regular meeting on July 22, 2009, the Board accepted a communication that stated that the August 26, 2009 meeting, the next regular meeting of the Board, will begin at 4:00 p.m. instead of at 10:30 a.m. Board President Michael Scott made a brief announcement to that effect at the beginning of the Public Participation portion of the Board's July 22 meeting.

The decision to meet in the late afternoon comes as a growing amount of public pressure had been demanding that the Board of Education, which only meets once a month, stop meeting during "bankers hours" when only those who can afford to take off from work can attend.

Between July 1995 and April 2002, the Board of Education, which relocated its headquarters to the old Commonwealth Edison building at 125 S. Clark St. in Chicago's Loop in 1997, met in local schools across the city on alternating months. One month the Board would meet at its heaquarters (for 12 years, located at 125 S. Clark St.) and the following month the Board would meet at a school. Meeting times were also differentiated, so that more working people could attend the meetings.

On July 22, 2009, the Board accepted into the record a Board Report called "09-0722-CO1 COMMUNICATION RE: LOCATION OF BOARD MEETING OF AUGUST 26, 2009."

The communication read as follows:

July 22, 2009

Michael Scott, President and members of the Board of Education:

Norman R. Bobins

Dr. Tariq H. Butt

Alberto A. Carrero, Jr.

Above, five of the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education during the Board's July 22, 2009, meeting. Left to right: Roxanne Ward, Clare Muñana, Michael Scott, Tariq Butt, and Alberto Carrero. Not in the picture (but present during the meeting) was Board member Peggy Davis. Board member Norman Bobins was absent for the entire meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Peggy A. Davis

Clare M. Muñana

Roxanne Ward

This is to advise that the regular meeting of the Board of Education scheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2009, will be held at:

The Central Administration Building

125 South Clark Street

Chicago, Illinois 60603

Board Chamber — 5th Floor

Registration for Public Participation will be held between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the 1st Floor of the Clark Street Lobby. The Public Participation segment of the meeting will begin at approximately 4:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m., and will be followed immediately by the Business portion of the meeting.


Estela G. Beltran


Final edited version of this article posted at July 30, 2009, 3:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502.


July 24, 2009 at 11:16 AM

By: Not Surprised

What a Tangled Web

I hope the Board has a staff meeting before the August meeting and informs Ron what's going on. Read Rosalind Rossi's column today about the Secret Job Fair and how superior and condescending Ron was to the teacher at the July 22 Board meeting who inquired about it.

It seems this "honest mistake" also took place in June. A displaced teacher told the June CORE meeting that when she got to the CPS Job Fair at the scheduled opening time the floor was already filled with preferred candidates wearing green wristbands and that some preferred resumes had red stickers on them. Anybody want to field that one? Monique?

Everyone who experienced that discrimination in June should write to Rosalind Rossi so that she can follow up about this "honest mistake." The Board is getting more and more casual about covering up the direction in which it is going. No one is practicing oversight or being an advocate for teachers, so why should they bother to come up with a plausible excuse when a lie will do?

July 24, 2009 at 11:36 PM


What channel will the Board Mtg be on and @ what time?

George, anyone who knows... what channel will the public participation portion of the meeting be on tomorrow? I want to watch and don't have a channel or a time.

I have Comcast and spent nearly 30 minutes trying to search for no avail. Can someone help me with this info so I can see the charades?


July 25, 2009 at 12:49 PM

By: Jackson Potter

Pressure Works

I think we can safely say that pressure works. By virtue of CORE and GEM's constant testimony on Board meetings since December of 2008 along with Karen Lewis and Wanda Hopkins demands to make meetings accessible, we have a policy shift.

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 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:

1 + 3 =