News: Scott, Williams Spent Lavishly Says New Report

Ex-School Board presidents' spending questionable: probe Sun Times
A
new report by Sullivan reveals that Scott and Williams each used a
board credit card to purchase artwork, costing some $3,000 per piece at
Chicago's Gallery Guichard for display in their board offices, one
source said.

City official calls for after-school program vouchers
Catalyst

Thumbnail image for News-clipart.jpg

If
Chicago Family and Support Services Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron gets
her way, Chicago's after-school funding landscape could be turned on
its head with money following children, rather than being awarded to
programs.
...

CPS Closures: Will it Really Improve the School System? WBEZ (1/19)
WBEZ's education reporter Linda Lutton and Elaine
Allensworth from the Consortium on Chicago School Research explain what
it takes for schools to succeed and discuss whether school closures
actually improve the system.

Should schools chief pay for misuse of SUV? Tribune
The
state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 9-1 to request
a decision from the governor's fiscal office on whether Paul Vallas
owes the state mileage payments for using a state-owned Dodge Durango
on the trips, including visits to see his family in Chicago.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup

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  • In relation to the OIG findings relating to Mr. Scott and Williams it is very important for the CPS Board to put into place a budget/audit committee of the Board. The CPS had such a body up to 1995 and froze it never meeting again. In July 2009 the CPS Board formally voted to abolish that body.

    The budget/audit committee needs to have public meetings where expenditures by schools, administrative departments, and the Board it self are publicly and constantly reviewed. Currenly the CPS is faced with the ISBE which is very close to broke, planning major cuts to CPS for FY 2011. The moral standing of CPS to argue against these cuts is impaired by stories of corruption. The first step in saving this situation is for the Board to reestablish a budget/audit committee that meets regularly and publicly.

    I have very great reservations also about the CPS general counsel agreeing to the legality of CPS not having a public budget/audit committee. Mr. Rocks publicly stated this to me at a CPS Board meeting two years ago when I raised this question directly to the Board itself, which I have done every year for the last three years. My problem with Mr. Rocks is not his reading of the school code, but rather in his supporting a decision of the Board that has effectly lead to this level of corruption due to a complete failure of oversight. The general counsel has an obligation to the children of the school district, not just to find legal ways to support actions of the Board.

    Rod Estvan

  • According to that radio story the Consortium identified high achieving schools which have low income students, and attributed this to improving school culture. Does anyone know which schools are identified as the high achievers? I suspect that these schools are good because they have improved school culture by removing the disruptive students. If so, then the Consortium's book is misleading because they emphasize changing the behavior of the adults rather than the selectivity of the student body. Of course I could be wrong, because I haven't read their book. Does anyone have any thoughts?

  • I fully agree with the first comment. The BOE AND all the other schools need to come before public meeting and held accountable.
    It is shameful this is allowed all on the backs of the CPS children!

    Atty Patrick Fitzgerald needs to step in and hold them accountable, then head over to Blaine School to look at their books. This corrupt Principal has been getting away with severe mismanagement with the help of the LSC, and she's getting away with it because I hear she's retiring this spring. PURE and Substance didn't wanna touch that story!

    Shame shame shame.

    This investigation should also not focus on Rufus Williams because he is still with us. Michael Scott needs to be investigated as well as his "suicide".

  • In reply to Kitty:

    I sat on a charter school committee for two years. I was constantly amazed by the amount of financial corruption that was SOP in CPS charters. And no one does anything about it. Private "loans" were made to employees with school funds. Board members became paid vendors. Money that should have gone toward educating children was spent on food for administrators and other 'luxuries.' "Fungible" was the term they always used. When I realized there was nothing I could do to make things better, I quit. The administrators have moved on to jobs with the U. of Chicago.

    There's no accountability in Chicago. I doubt there ever will be.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    New principal-Nightengale--AREA 11 Ortega at it again--she will put in her own choice of principal next week after she got the LSC to chase out Dr. Pletsch. She went after him, now she will go after the teachers. HER new principal and HER covert AP will begin next month!

  • In reply to Kitty:

    New principal-Nightengale--AREA 11 Ortega at it again--she will put in her own choice of principal next week after she got the LSC to chase out Dr. Pletsch. She went after him, now she will go after the teachers. HER new principal and HER covert AP will begin next month!

  • In reply to Kitty:

    Scotts estate and Rufus should have to pay the taxpayers back. Hey BEW, Arne and PRocks--you did not notice ALL of the art work these guys bought on the 6th floor?! Please--how you go after teachers for a bottle of water, but high priced art work and liquor is OK!

  • In reply to Kitty:

    CPS took 60% of Before School money from most of the schools. They canceled After School Counts. Now we know where all the money went to. They think they are above accountability. What else is the education monies paying for?

  • In reply to Kitty:

    Yes. 5th grade: does the public or even the mighty Trib realize how much poverty $$ is spent on the salaries of the huberteam?

  • In reply to Kitty:

    this tribune story focuses in part on steven washington (who?) a former board staffer who approved some of the lavish expenses for williams and scott

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/ct-met-0123-cps-board-expenses-20100122,0,7042117.story

    "Documents show that Steven Washington, a former board staffer, approved many of the purchases, including more than $5,300 in artwork bought from Gallery Guichard, in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood. The gallery's co-owner, Andre Guichard, declined to talk about the purchases."

    still looking for a link to or a copy of the report itself -- and anyone's guesses as to what happens next if anything.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    "the board credit cards were used to make thousands in donations to charities and to at least one charter school. The Mercy Foundation received $3,000 in October; more than $1,800 went to the juvenile diabetes organization in November; and Williams gave $1,000 to Urban Prep Academies...this SUCKS! CPS is a charity and these guys are taking taxpayer $ from the poorest children of Chicago. Williams should join Scott! The law dept. did not stop this? SICK!!!!

  • In reply to Kitty:

    There is a good story to find out regarding law services done at City Hall as well as CPS. Both City Hall and CPS waste thousands of your city tax money using their respective law departments for their own ends. How Daley gets away with wasting tax payer money having the City law department fight the Shackman decree is incredulous! What do hired law help do regularly for CPS? There is a story there. Again, that goes to the lack of solid leadership in City Hall and CPS!

  • In reply to Kitty:

    A few years ago (3 or 4 yrs ago) Clara Munana donated $5000 to The Friends of Blaine for their auction, she was labeled a level "Gold" donor. I have the auction booklet as proof. Blaine School is a wealthy northside school. I wonder if she used her "Board Credit Card" for that?

    2 years ago when an LSC membered discovered all the corruption in Blaine's school budget & management, she was personally attacked. While trying to get answers from the BOE, they would work with her, then when evidence was produced, they stopped all communication and would reply, "work with your LSC and principal". PURE was brought in, again, once they discovered this principal, Gladys Vaccarezza, was being protected by the BOE, PURE stopped all communication! I couldn't believe Miss Wanda Hopkins was scared of this situation!

    This principal is going to retire in Spring. She has brought in one of her cronies as the new AP this year. And I'm sure that AP will be appointed as the new principal when she leaves, thus allowing the corruption to continue! Shame on the LSC, shame on the BOE and SHAME on the Mayor for heading all of this up! ALL on the backs of OUR Children! I swear I suffer from PTSD from the horrid actions I witnessed at that school. I'm thankful I pulled my daughter out her 7th grade year. Even the children see the horrible divisions this principal creates between the "haves and have nots"

  • In reply to Kitty:

    kittypgrl

    You have no proof at all that Clare Munana used a BOE credit card rather than her own personal funds to make a donation to a Chicago school, and yet you imply that what she did was inappropriate.

    Shame on you.

    And it sounds to me as if the Blaine School is better off without people like you around.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    I never said she DID use the BOE credit card.

    She could have used personal funds. But we as a private citizen will never know because to get the financials from the FOB would never happen because principal Vacarezza would make sure it never would. You could go through FOIA but they would use all kinds of stall tactics and delay the request and by then Munana and Vacarezza would be long gone and the issue long dead. That is how the cover up works. No financials, no budget committee at Blaine, no budget committee at the BOE, no reports, no public scrutiny, no freedom of info.

    We all know it is a joke to actually do an FOIA request from the BOE, let alone an organization like the FOB. Come on. do you think I am stupid here????

    Note I said, and I quote,

    A few years ago (3 or 4 yrs ago) Clara Munana donated $5000 to The Friends of Blaine for their auction, she was labeled a level "Gold" donor. I have the auction booklet as proof. Blaine School is a wealthy northside school. I wonder if she used her "Board Credit Card" for that?

    Dirty mess Blaine is and the BOE turns a blind eye to it all- at the expense of the children.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    Isn't it great that the Inspector General has time to harass teachers who are actually working to educate students, but no time to actually police the corruption in the tens of millions in central office?

    This is a $6 billion district, there's plenty of money for the education of students. But too much of it is tied up in mandates and compliance that ensures that most of the resources and teacher time doesn't actually get to the students.

  • In reply to xian:

    The use or misuse of law departments in city government is atrocious. The taxpayers money is spent by Daley to fight the Shackman decree. Daley with a straight face lies to the citizens saying there is no longer patronage! http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/2007529,CST-NWS-hiring24.article

    What does the CBOE law department do? How much is spent on contracting of lawyers services outside of the department? What is the quality of work?

  • In reply to xian:

    CPS Board's acting president Clara Munana publicly stated on November 23, 2009 at a quickly called press conference that she had never used her CPS expense account. This was the same meeting where Walter Jones was selected to investigate the spending by CPS Board members.

    I think it is reasonable to assume Ms. Munana is telling the truth about this. But it is also clear that she voted on July 22, 2009 for Board resolution 09-0722-RU1 which abolished the Board's standing budget audit committee which had been suspended in 1995 once the Mayor took control over the CPS Board. This resolution can be found at:

    http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/Documents/BoardActions/2009_07/09-0722-RU1.pdf

    Also at this same meeting Ms. Munana voted for 09-0722-PO1 which completely opened up the door to Mr. Scott's misuse of his expense account, apparently Mr. Williams paid little attention to the the rules anyway. This rule change can be found at:

    http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/The_Board_of_Education/Documents/BoardActions/2009_07/09-0722-PO1.pdf

    Ms. Munana has voted repeatedly to Maintain as Confidential all Existing Closed Session Minutes from July 1995 through those most current. These votes indicate a complete lack of any concern with transparancy on the part of the CPS Board and Ms. Munana. George Schmidt has pointed this issue out repeated in Subtance, and no major news media outlet has ever taken up this issue.

    I would emphasize to various blogers that there now is a massive amount of evidence that the current Board as a whole has been not responsible to the public in carrying out its oversight responsiblities. I do not think there is any point to try to guess what other bad things various Board members may have or may not have done. At this point pressure needs to be brought on the Board to reform, including opening up its minutes of closed sessions,and creating a public budget audit committee of the Board. The situation may have fallen so far apart at this point that the current Board, and general counsel, may have to resign in mass in order for the CPS to regain any legitimimacy. I have been complaining for years about the current Board doing nothing and voting on resolution after resolution without reasoned discussion or thought, but honestly the current disclosures of corruption are more than I ever thought possible. I guess I am naive.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to xian:

    Interesting stuff in Comments of that ST story: " bapesjr1 wrote:
    Fran Spielman and Rosalind Rossi. If you only knew.

    See I was that fly on the at CPS. I was a Computer tech to Both presidents. 1 would bring family PC's to be work. Using CPS funds/resources to repair personal equipment.

    Forensics work. The FBI didn't get what they wanted. They/us computer tech came in right away removed Scott's PC and gave him a new one before he died. (This was the cover up for his 1st investigation.) The government got nothing important. We() meaning the support techs knew this was wrong. We watch the FBI agent scan a PC that wasn't even a month old. His original PC is setting in our storage closet. If they want to know how to find it. Just email me and ask. CPS laptops being taken for there children. Hording 2 to 3 laptops. Refrigerators under most managers desk. The miss use of publics fund goes on.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    good catch, 1227 -- i'll pass this to roz in case she hasn't seen it.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    it wasn't just williams and scott -- eighty nine people had board credit cards that have now been revoked, according to the sun times

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/2011412,CST-NWS-yanked26.article

    who could that be?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    did huberman find out who made him drive the two cars yet? "Those found to be responsible will face severe disciplinary action."

    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/01/tribune-watchdog-chicago-schools-vehicle-lease-deal-probed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ChicagoBreakingNews+%28Chicago+Breaking+News%29

  • In reply to xian:

    No wonder Scott took his life! Please send this information to the IG--this is just sick.

  • In reply to xian:

    no comment from the mayor, according to this tribune update --
    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/01/mayor-richard-daley-chicago-public-schools-.html

    amazingly, they'll probably get away with this.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    isn't is strangle how these investigations are only now coming out, during an election cycle. the BoE inspector general is part of the problem and so is the law department, instead of using its resources to protect and enhance student learning they are used for political gain and retribution.

  • In reply to Kitty:

    are any of these crooks even thinking about helping haiti? instead of teaching kids to help and solve problems they teach how to cheat and lie; they should be using their positions to create positive examples for children.

    this is a great performance from the other night by Wyclef.
    http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/474747/wyclef-jean-rivers-of-babylon-yele-live.jhtml#id=1630164

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