Board Posts Vendor Contracts - So What?


Over the holidays the Board announced that it is now going to start posting vendor contracts online "as part of a district-wide effort to
foster transparency."  See press release below.

Transparency has been an issue for CPS and other school districts nationwide. Some districts have gone so far as to post their check registers online, essentially making all payments viewable.  Others have had their state open meeting laws challenged and upheld.

I'll leave it to you budget hawks to determine exactly how much of an improvement this latest move is, compared to the past practice of posting board report items (but not contract language) after each Board meeting.  Is there any more detail or ease of viewing in the new setup than the old? You can see the contract information here.

Contracts Now Available Online for Public View



Chicago Public
officials announced today that vendor contracts are
now available online for public viewing as part of a district-wide effort to
foster transparency. 


Accessible contract information includes Board Report numbers,
contract numbers, contract descriptions, vendor names, contract amounts, the dates
contracts were signed and the contract amounts authorized by the Chicago Board
of Education.  


Contracts awarded by pool -- that is, to multiple vendors --
are also available.


Currently, more than 100 contracts, which are in PDF format,
have been placed on the CPS Department of Procurement and Contracts website. CPS
officials note that new contracts are being added to the website on a near
daily basis.


To view vendor contracts:

Go to the CPS Department of Procurement and Contracts
home page.

Click the "Board Reports" tab near the
top right.

Click the "View Board Reports here" link under
the bold "Board Reports" heading.

 Click the "Contract awards for fiscal year
2010" link under the bold "DPC Contract Awards" heading.


Only contracts awarded in fiscal year 2010 and in the future
will be available online.


For more information, and to view vendor contracts online,
please visit the Department of Procurement and Contracts home page at:


Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 408,000 students
in more than 670 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school system.


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  • peyton walcott, one of the nation's top watchdogs on district spending practices, sent me this email about the CPS plan:

    "1. Any public ed attempts at transparency are worthwhile -- and better to post CPS check registers online, best to include at least the last three digits of the check number (okay to obscure the first with asterisks for security).

    2. Contracts only tell a portion of the CPS spending story; ideally total CPS transparency will include check registers for all accounts, wire transfers and reimbursement and other checks to individuals, activity accounts, detailed no-aggregate spending reports by major contractors, more. Would be helpful to include a clear user-friendly link on the CPS home page directly to the lists of contracts.

    3. Are online checks doable for as large an entity as Chicago Public Schools? If Miami, Florida -- fourth largest district in the U.S., as much as $6.8 billion annually -- can post its checks online, so can Chicago.

  • This information was always avaiable on line. But it was not easy to locate. There is a city law City Ordinance number 2-156-475 which has required that most of this information be public. I have been checking this data regularly for years in relation to payments being made to providers of special education services. I also carefully read CPS Board reports to understand these contracts.

    Rod Estvan

  • is it legal that the Board has yet to post actions from the December 2009 meeting?

    OF THE
    Revised to July 2009

    Sec. 2-11. Records of Proceedings. The record of the Proceedings of the Board shall be prepared and maintained by the Secretary and include a record of the following (1) the date, time and place of the meeting, (2) the members of the Board who were present, absent and whether members were physically present or present by means of video or audio conference, and (3) a summary of discussion on all matters proposed, deliberated or decided and any votes taken. The Board of Education may direct that the remarks of any member made during a meeting shall be included in the record of proceedings.

    I See Nothing

  • When CPS converted all administrators to computers, it was really nice to finally be able to see the vendor list when ordering supplies. I was pleasantly surprised to see many local businesses that I could easily order from. The only confusing part was that many listings were alphabetical by FIRST name of individuals with vendor numbers. I'm now retired, but just wondering if this problem was eliminated. Will the vendor list ever be made public?

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