Chicago brings back veteran area officer Cynthia Barron to fill spot left by controversial outsider who wasn't hired

Less than a week before school began for Chicago's more than 400,000 public school students, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman quietly put former Area Instructional Officer Cynthia Barron into the position of "Chief Area Officer" for "Area 25", one of the school system's sub-districts.

The vacancy that caused Huberman to make the change was created when Huberman withdrew his proposal, which had been made in the form of a Board Report, to put a former Kentucky school official, Jon Reinhard, into the position. Huberman withdrew his nomination of Reinhard, an outsider with no Chicago experience, when Substance reported on the morning of the August 26, 2009 Board of Education meeting that Reinhard had admitted twice to defrauding school districts in which he worked by double billing for expenses.

The proposed Reinhard appointment was reportedly on the non-public agenda prior to the August 26 Board meeting, but was withdrawn by Huberman following the Substance report. On August 26, CPS spokesman Monique Bond told Substance that the proposed appointment had been withdrawn for further consideration. It remained unclear whether Huberman would eventually approve the appointment anyway, and then return to the Board with it.

The Agenda of Action for the August 26 Board meeting showed that no action had been taken on the Reinhard appointment, and the Board Reports make no mention of Barron's return from retirement.

The appointment of Barron to the Chief Area Officer (CAO) spot ends for the time being that possibility.

The new "CAOs" were created by Ron Huberman, and do not require Chicago or Illinois teaching or administrative experience or license. The creation of the CAO positions was not presented to the Board of Education or discussed at the Board's public meetings. When asked about whether the "CAO" appointees had a "Type 75" certificate by Substance, Monique Bond responsed: "What is a Type 75?" Several of them don't, and apparently the Chicago Board of Education has somewhere approved a new personnel policy that allows the CEO to appoint CAOs who are not required to be certified Illinois teachers or administrators. Substance was unable to reach Reinhard for comment. 

Final edited version of this article posted at September 11, 2009, 1:00 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 — or you can take out a subscription to Substance (see red button to the right) and make a donation. 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.


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