The United Neighborhood Organization needs to adopt “robust conflict-of-interest” policies in the wake of a scandal that’s jeopardized tens of millions of dollars of state funding for UNO’s network of charter schools in Chicago, a retired federal judge hired by the politically influential group urged Thursday.
Chicago Public Schools officials have suspended an employee of Dunbar Vocational Career Academy on the South Side after a video surfaced that appears to show him pushing a 16-year-old female student down a flight of stairs. On the video, which seems to have been taken on a cell phone, it appears the man then hovers over the girl at the bottom of the stairs and shoves her again when she gets up and lunges at him. The video is posted on www.worldstarhiphop.com.
It’s part of three-day walk to bring awareness to the slated closures. Marchers, who walked miles Saturday between schools on the South and West Sides slated for closure, will conclude their walk Monday with a rally at 4:30 p.m. in Daley Plaza.
Enrollment runs through May 31, giving parents little more than a week to register their children in person for the fall. Both closing and welcoming schools will host registration as kids prepare to switch schools.
History was made in Chicago Wednesday in about 90 seconds, but most of the folks who witnessed firsthand the death of a record 50 Chicago Public Schools firsthand didn’t even realize it. Rather than list the names of the doomed elementary schools, the Board of Education took a single group vote on most of the closings that will affect some 27,000 children. The board secretary read out the numbers assigned to each resolution and asked for the vote. But onlookers didn’t even get that, as the board president resorted to parliamentary maneuver to speed the process along.
Chanting “No school closings!” protesters made a last-ditch effort Wednesday morning to keep the Chicago Board of Education from shuttering what’s believed to be the largest number of schools in one place at one time in the country.
Despite dreary skies and occasional downpours Wednesday morning, the mood was bright and sunny at two schools spared from the CPS closing list.
Four Chicago Public Schools are no longer up for closing this year, a fifth wouldn’t close until next year and a sixth school would be spared from the staff reboot known as a turnaround, the Chicago Sun-Times learned Tuesday. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is expected to withdraw her recommendations to shutter Marcus Garvey; Mahalia Jackson, Leif Ericson and George Manierre, according to a source familiar with her deliberations.
Part 3 of 3: If the school board votes Wednesday to close Kohn Elementary School, some of its students will be sent farther south in Roseland to Lavizzo Elementary. Longtime Kohn volunteer Nancy Thomas counts the vacant properties along the way.
Chicago Police led away protesters Monday who blocked elevators in the lobby of City Hall after they vowed to “cause chaos in this city” to stop a sweeping school-closing plan. Also Monday, Chicago Public Schools officials released reports providing additional details of how nine schools that are absorbing student bodies from shuttered schools plan to address student safety and the accommodations of special needs students.
PART 2 OF 3: If Marconi Community Academy is approved Wednesday to be closed, its students will be sent to Tilton Elementary School, just half a mile away but across one of West Garfield Park’s open-air drug markets.
Attorneys backed by the Chicago Teachers Union filed two federal class action lawsuits Wednesday charging that the closing of 53 public schools in September will violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Civil Rights Act. The suits, filed on behalf of parents with children in schools designated to be shuttered, seeks an injunction to delay or stop the closings.
THE WATCHDOGS: Now under investigation by two state agencies, the United Neighborhood Organization is also facing tough questions on Wall Street from the investors who lent tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the rapid expansion of UNO’s charter-school network. The questions were prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports on state grant money paid to companies owned by two brothers of Miguel d’Escoto, a top executive of the politically well-connected group.
A college student from River Forest was killed in a car crash Saturday as he and three friends headed home from Indiana University, and less than an hour later a Valparaiso, Ind., woman died when the car she was in lost control as it approached backed-up traffic near the first crash scene.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he appreciates the work done by hearing officers who want to keep open 13 of 54 Chicago Public Schools targeted for closing but made no promises to follow their recommendations.
Hearing officers appointed to review the school district’s plan to close underutilized schools across the city are opposing 10 of the slated school closures at the end of this school year and have reservations about several others, according to reports released by CPS. CPS said hearing officers either misinterpreted the requirements of state law or exceeded the scope of their authority in issuing their findings.