WTF!?... CPS Board members and executives didn't bother to read what they were voting on!... Chicago Board of Education members vote to fire the staff of Barton Elementary School as part of the 'reconstitution' of Dvorak, Gresham and McNair

According to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, the agendas for meetings of school boards are supposed to be posted 48 hours before the meetings so that the public can read each item. Additionally, copies of each of the items before the Board are available at the time of the meeting in front of the Board members and the highly paid executives who sit surrounding the Board members during each meeting. And so it was during the meeting of the Chicago Board of Education held on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Five members of the seven members of the Board were present, giving the Board barely the quorum it needs to conduct business. Also present were the "Chief Executive Officer" of the nation's third largest school system, Barbara Byrd Bennett, and the "General Counsel", James Bebley.

Above, when the Board of Education voted to "reconstitute" Dvorak Elementary School on April 23, 2014, they actually voted to remove "all Barton employees..." (see "PERSONNEL IMPLICATIONS" in the above Board Report). The wording of the Board Report reconstituted Dvorak (just as it did Gresham and McNair), but the Board members were voting to get rid of the staff at Barton. The above Board Report appeared on the public agenda of the nation's third largest school system on April 21, 2014 and the final version of the Board Report, as printed above, was made public on the "Action" Agenda of the Board that became available on the CPS website a week after the Board meeting. And as just about everyone paying attention knew, the Board was poised, once again, to approve the so-called "turnaround" of three elementary schools which, supposedly, had been failing for some time. The rationale for the so-called "turnaround" -- which legally in Illinois is "reconstitution", a process that research showed as early as the late 1990s to be a failure -- had been presented to hearings prior to the Board meeting, and the report of a so-called "hearing officer" recommended that the schools be reconstituted, as "turnaround.'

But what the five members of the Chicago Board of Education actually voted to do was to "reconstitute" each of the three schools on the agenda -- and then fire all the teachers at another elementary school that was not mentioned on the agenda.

WTF? Apparently nobody on the Board nor any of the highly paid executives who signed the "Board Report" bothered to read it. Because each Board Report read:

PERSONNEL IMPLICATIONS: Pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/34-8.3(d)(4), all Barton employees, including the principal, will be removed and replaced, subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Barton Elementary School was not mentioned anywhere else on the Agenda of the Chicago Board of Eduction for April 23, 2014. The public discussion during the previous month and on April 23 was about the proposal to "reconstitute" Dvorak, Gresham and McNair, and then give the schools (along with $300,000 and $420 per pupil) to the controversial "Academy for Urban School Leadership" (AUSL), which is supposedly a "turnaround" specialist.

The Board Report for Dvorak can now be found on the official website of the Chicago Board of Education at

for skeptics to peruse. The Board Reports pertaining to Gresham and McNair contain the same wordings about Barton.

Each of the "reconstitution" Board Reports was signed by three of the highest paid public school officials in the USA: Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd Bennett, General Counsel James Bebley, and Chief of Chiefs Denise Little.

Byrd Bennett was hired by the Board on October 24, 2012 at an annual salary of $250,000, plus $30,000 "relocation expenses." Previously, she had been working in Detroit. The Board did not discuss why it wanted a person whose record was in undermining the public schools of Detroit to lead the Chicago Public Schools, or why there was no one in Illinois qualified for the job. Byrd Bennett's quickie hiring took place a month after the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012 had effectively ended the career of her predecessor, Jean-Claude Brizard.

Denise Little, a long time CPS employee, was promoted to the position of "Chief Officer of Network Quality" (popularly known as "Chief of Chiefs") by a vote of the Board at its December 19, 2012 meeting at an annual salary of $175,000 per year.

James Bebley was promoted to the position of General Counsel after having served for years as second in command in the Board's Law Department.

The signatures of each of the three appears on the bottom of each of the Board reports that reconstitute the three schools, but then provide for the firing of the staff of Barton.

One of the five Board members present, Carlos Azcoitia, abstained from voting on the turnarounds. None of the Board members asked whey the "PERSONNAL IMPLICATIONS" of what they were voting on indicated that they were replacing the staff of Barton as part of the "reconstitutions" of Dvorak, Gresham and McNair.


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