CAFR is now in the 'NONE OF YOUR F%!#@_G BUSINESS' category for Rahm Emanuel's Board of Education... CPS officials 'erasing history' as part of Internet (and paper) coverup of the history and business of America's third-largest school system
Chicago Public Schools officials have been slowly and meticulously erasing the public record of the history of important CPS actions since Rahm Emanuel became Mayor of Chicago in May 2011. Among the documents that have been removed from the CPS website are the "Action" agendas from the Board of Education meetings prior to 2003, staff racial ethnic surveys, and hundreds of press releases and notifications of press conferences that were held prior to 2011. After May 2011, CPS officials instituted a blackout on the give-and-take of press conferences with reporters between CPS officials and the city's media. Instead, the vastly expanded CPS "Communications" office has been issuing press statements and refusing to answer most follow up questions from the city's remaining education beat reporters.
Additionally, the members of the Chicago Board of Education have continued to practice of sealing the minutes of their executive sessions, which take place at each of the monthly meetings of the school board. This becomes more important during an era when the mayor and his aides repeatedly claim that they are opening up a new era of what they call "transparency" in Chicago political affairs.
A major example is the decision by CPS to hire almost all out-of-town executives since the Emanuel era began in May 2011. While a great deal of attention was paid to the highly publicized announcement (in April 2011) by then Mayor-elect Emanuel that he was bringing in Jean-Claude Brizard to from Rochester New York to head the massive Chicago school system, no public attention (except here at Substance) has been paid to the regular appointment of officials from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Detroit, Memphis and elsewhere to top Chicago public education executive positions.
Since there has been little or no discussion of major personnel decisions -- including the hiring of more than 40 executives at salaries ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 per year -- on the public record since the Emanuel administration took over the nation's third largest school system in May and June 2011, the public is kept in the dark about the criteria used by CPS to vet key personnel. There has also been no public discussion of how CPS establishes both job titles and salaries for the system's top officials. Most since May 2011 have been hired from outside Chicago, adding an additional expense to the hirings. Dozens of officials hired since Emanuel became mayor have been awarded "relocation expenses" on top of their often unprecedented salaries as they arrive in Chicago from out of town. Brizard's $35,000 relocation expenses when he moved to Chicago from Rochester in 2011 was the beginning of a policy which had never existed before.
Additionally, the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education have routinely approved budget decisions based on figures which have later proven to be false and deliberately misleading. The current example of that is the fact that CPS officials have been publicly utilizing a talking point that claims CPS if facing a "debt" of $1 billion next school year, when in fact the actual budget figures (based on projected expenses and projected revenues) show that for the past 20 years CPS has deliberately created a fictional "deficit."
This month, January 2013, for the first time in history CPS officials are refusing to public the annual audited financial report (the CAFR, of Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) in January. Traditionally, the CAFR is presented to the members of the Board in December of each year and released to the public in January. The CAFR, which shows the audit of the fiscal year that ended the previous June 30, has always been the most reliable document revealing the actual state of CPS finances (and debunking earlier claims of "deficits" ranging as high as $1 billion (the final year of Ron Huberman's time as CEO). The CAFR for Fiscal 2012 (the fiscal year that began July 1, 2011 and ended June 30, 2012) has not been reported to the public this month for the first time in history.
instead of clear information and press conference where CPS officials have to answer questions in an open forum, CPS has created a culture of cynical secrecy, with carefully leaked media talking points given to selected reporters, while the public in general is denied access to basic information about how CPS policies are developed. With the latest change in the ability of the public to participate in the monthly meetings of the Chicago Board of Education, the denial of basic public access to the information and meetings of the third largest school system in the USA has become more severe as 2013 begins.