Board explanations on Reinhard appointment filled with contradictions

On the morning of August 26, 2009, SubstanceNews reported that the Chicago Board of Education was scheduled to appoint a man named Jon Reinhard to the position of Chief Area Officer for Area 25 in Chicago's public school system. Reinhard had never worked in Chicago. His career in Ohio and Kentucky had raised questions about his qualifications because he had been found guilty of theft from school districts he had worked for.

By the time the Chicago Board of Education began its meeting on the afternoon of August 26, the Board's official position was that the Reinhard appointment had been withdrawn prior to the publication of the Substance story on Reinhard.

In an August 26, 2009 phone interview with Substance, Monique Bond, communications officer for Chicago Public Schools, told Substance that the Board had actually decided to postpone the Reinhard appointment prior to the publication of the Substance article that morning. She said the postponement had been done on Friday, August 21, 2009.

The reason for this reconsidering of the offer, according to Bond, was that Mr. Reinhard disclosed to the Board of Education on Friday August 21, 2009 his criminal convictions of theft from a school district. In following up with this question, Ms. Bond did not make it clear whether Mr. Reinhard would be appointed after the August 26 Board meeting, but that it was up to the Board of Education.

The facts remain puzzling. One of the problems in determining the sequence of events is that the Board had announced the Reinhard appointment to Catalyst magazine subsequent to the time Ms. Bond said the appointment had been withdrawn. Also, the personnel actions to be taken at a Board meeting are not on the public agenda of the meeting. By law, the public agenda has to be distributed 48 hours prior to the meeting, but exempt subjects (litigation; real estate sales; personnel matters) can he handled in executive session and only reported to the public when and if the Board acts.

At the time of the publication of this article, the Board of Education has refused to release the August 26, 2009 "Agenda of Action" so that Substance can determine whether the appointment was done when the Board voted on August 26. that it voted on as required by law.

What is clear is that at some point CPS was considering hiring Jon Reinhard for a $150,000 per year executive job despite his criminal record. The recommendation to appoint Jon Reinhard as the Chief Area Officer was announced to Catalyst by CPS officials. Years before, Reinhard had been convicted of a misdemeanor theft charge for double-billing a school district $378.78 in travel expenses for the Ohio School-to-Work in 1999. He was also forced to resign as school principal in Clermont County and a 10-year seat on the Mason school board for another incident involving $3000 (Mc Laughlin, 13 October 1999, The Cincinnati Enquirer), “We have made a decision to reconsider our tentative offer on Friday.”

There is also a conflicting issue here. If Mr. Reinhard did inform the Board of his thefts from a school district on Friday, then why was there a release of information to the public on Tuesday August 25, 2009 through a Catalyst article by Sarah Karp. Mr. Reinhard’s name as an appointee is reported in that article. In investigating the actual .pdf document ( the list ) that had the names and bios of the CAO appointees’ there is a date stamp that the document was created on Monday August 25, 2009.

In addition to the issue of an individual convicted and resigning for theft from a school district, Mr. Reinhard and a number of other CAO appointees are not properly certified by the Illinois State Board of Education to be administrators. Attempts to contact top CPS administrators and legal counsel for comment on the legality of appointing administrators that are not properly certified by the state have gone unanswered.

When asked if the candidate, Mr. Reinhard, could legally be appointed as an administrator despite the fact that he was denied an administrative certification in Kentucky, due to a “history of double-billing Tristate school districts” (Mc Laughlin, 21 March 2000, The Cincinnati Enquirer) and the requirements of the State of Illinois to have a Type 75 administrative certification Ms. Bond replied “What is that?”


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