Those Sneaky Retired Teacher Subs

Today's news is dominated by items from the annual OIG report, though I'm not sure that's really the biggest news of the day. Scroll down to read about yesterday's sit in and don't forget that tonight is the monthly WBEZ call-in show with Jean Claude Brizard and tomorrow is one of the school closing meetings CPS is holding before making final decisions later on this winter.

Report details improper pay to substitute teachers, teacher helping kids view porn Sun Times:  Those are just two findings — among dozens — included in the Office of the Inspector General’s 2011 report on investigations into possible waste, fraud, misconduct and financial mismanagement in Chicago public education.

CPS Overpaid Subs $1.13M: Report Fox: The inspector general for Chicago Public Schools says retired teachers working as substitutes improperly collected $1.13 million in benefits between 2007 and 2011.

CPS inspector general says employee stole funds to buy condoms, champagne Tribune: Condoms, champagne, chocolate and a mattress are not usually on the procurement list for school supplies. But an internal investigation at Chicago Public Schools released Wednesday alleges that a manager stole thousands of district dollars in a scheme...

Report Details CPS Free Lunch Fraud, Improper Financial Benefits CBS: The inspector general of the Chicago Public Schools has issued a devastating report on financial and other abuses in the public school system.

Chicago Teachers Union Holds Sit-In At City Hall Chicagoist: The Chicago Teachers Union held a sit-in at City Hall today to protest the mayor's plan to close a number of Chicago Public Schools.

Protesters speak out against school closings, turnarounds Catalyst: Bettie Dancy tells the crowd that she is worried about sending her grandchildren, who attend schools slated for closing, to other neighborhoods because of the threat of gang violence. The City of Chicago will no longer “short-change black and brown children,” she asserted. “The direction of education in this city must change." She closes her remarks with “Our schools will remain open.”

Boy, 15, fatally shot on South Side Sun Times:  A 15-year-old boy was fatally shot Wednesday night in the South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood, police said. The times was found shot multiple times at 8:11 p.m. on a porch in the 5700 block of South Laflin, police said.

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  • Love the phrase "substitutes improperly collected." Wouldn't it be better to say "CPS' payroll department improperly paid out"? In the S-T spokeswoman Sainvilus claims they "will hold everyone accountable." Hmmm. So a teacher's aide gets fired for scamming a free lunch, but the CPS payroll people can play off a $1.13 million screw-up as a "computer glitch." That's exactly the kind of thing that gives people in classrooms an Us vs. Them mentality. I guess what people in payroll are doing is showing students how to "prepare for college and a CYA career."
    Violations of CPS policy should absolutely be taken seriously, as should violations of the public trust. If one person, one person, lost a job because of this "computer glitch" I would be able to take this ferreting-out-the-bad-guys stance more seriously.

  • In reply to 5plus5:

    One of the affected teachers showed me the letter she got from the Board last year. The tone of the letter was accusatory and threatening. (I can't remember which officer signed it.) It demanded a large amount of money be repaid immediately (I believe it was over $5,000).

    There was no mention that it was a mistake on the part of CPS or that anyone in Central Office could possibly be culpable for this lapse. You would think the substitute teachers had snuck into payroll after hours and written the checks out to themselves.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Let the 2012 campaign against CPS teachers begin!

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    This screw up is no surpirse to me. Payroll screws up over and over again. especially now since they're paying after school programs. The Director talks a good game but makes many many mistakes with payroll and others get blamed. How long will they be able to screw up our checks and overpay others??????

  • There is really another story here in relation to the falsification of free and reduced lunch applications at North Grand High School. While the Inspector General's report depicts the lunch application problems at the school in detail, there were many other issues at the school that went directly to the school's leadership including principal Ayala Asuncion and AP Luz Borges-Caraballo who were removed last July by CPS. The IG's section on this high school covers several pages in the annual report.

    What is even more amazing is a 25-minute special mini-documentary on North Grand High School that was made praising Dr. Asuncion ( which can still be seen at http://www.wallacefoundation.org/principal-story/Pages/opening-scenes-from-north-grand.aspx) . In classic fashion Principal Asuncion is praised as being a tough urban principal all about educating children. The documentary was in fact made by PBS and it is a complete embarrassment to journalistic standards because complaints were being made about the corruption at the school even while the documentary was being filmed. One of the clerks at the school who falsified in mass lunch applications is actually seen in this film.

    The truth of the matter needs to be told and that truth is that CBS channel 2 and the Better Government Association broke this story because the whistle blower at the school got no response initially from CPS to that individual's complaints about what was going on at North Grand HS. My understanding is the IG's office only got aggressive after CBS and the BGA began investigating.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I read the full report-just a tragedy at taxpayer and student expense. The OIG states a number of times that they do not have enough man power to tackle the deep problems and criminal activities going on in the schools at 125. (Scott was the tip of this massive iceberg with no money returned from that.)

    Most of the OIG investigations are tied up in residency. I believe in residency, but that is a waste of OIG time and money. Residency cases could be farmed out to a vendor to free the OIG to investigate the costly and numerous rip-offs to CPS-to us.

    Rahm should make the Board do this. But then, as the OIG states, Rahm hired expensive Cawley, who got a pass from the board to NOT live in the city. Don’t do as I do… Credibility lost here. Will anyone do an FOIA, instead of waiting until 2013 to find out what the OIG thinks about the Board allowing Cawley this bad pass? It is a shame to have to wait a full year to find out what the OIG will do about this--while Cawley gets to live out of the city and make all that money for yet another year and Rahm’s Board gets a pass. This may end up being an albatross for Rahm--though Rahm will not understand why.

  • I was at NGHS while that documentary was being filmed. Students and staff both laughed about how the only time you saw Ayala out of her office was when the cameras were on her, and all she really would do while the cameras were around is yell at a student to tuck their shirt in or to get to class. At staff PDs she clearly had no idea what was going on within the school and would blame teachers for every problem that she herself was not addressing. During the middle of the school year she took a two week vacation out of the country, leaving the school to be a playground for the three gangs whose territories all come together at the building. Mexican and African American students were not given as many opportunities as Puerto Rican students. ELL students received few services, and certain teachers were her personal spies, peeking into classrooms during prep times to report back.

    Ayala has fired and driven away many wonderful and compassionate educators because of her greed, viciousness, and political agenda. In plain words, what goes around comes around.

  • In reply to chiteacher:

    OMG Do these administrators take courses in ineffective leadership AKA how to ruin a school in 90 days...this sounds just like some Area 11 schools especially the spy part which are usually filled by ineffective teachers who are not respected by staff, students or community...Marquette come to mind....

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Mr. Estvan is correct and shame that the mayor does not hire him--
    The payroll issue has been a problem too long. The pension fund could not get retirement info from CPS for years! Of course retired subs were overpaid.
    CPS does not support principals who do the right thing. Principals are left on their own, allowing the LSC, parents or staff who don’t bother to come to work, to eat them alive, lie about them and make false accusations, even though you are getting the corruption and corrupt person (people) out of your school. Principals are not allowed to discuss it with anyone, but 125 lets the principals be attacked and even chased out. There are principals dong the right thing by the students and the OIG and CPS say they are to busy to investigate it.
    Ten years from now there will still be the same corruption. OIG has a job for life. Look at the OIG report to see how 125 did nothing to a number of guilty parties.
    How many investigations are done by 125—there is an office to investigate—right?—where is the report on that? There is more corruption that is hidden from the public.
    The truth shall set you free, but it will get principals in trouble when they tell the truth.

  • Flip Side

    About ten years ago our new administration failed to submit
    lunch applications by the deadline. I heard we lost two hundred
    thousand dollars.

  • have you tried to get the lunchforms into the CPS computer system? School starts after labor day and you have 3 weeks to get them all in --so if you are at Lane of Curie--thosands of them and it takes 15 minutes to put in each child-then begging parents to turn them in on time. 125 has no idea what happens at the schools or what they need to do a basic job.

  • The sports-shoes and equipment rip off is horrible . There seems no accountability for the head of this department! Why?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    There was no rip off of shoes. The shoes went to schools. It sounds like Board procedure was not followed when shoes were bought.

    The rip off was the theft and personal purchases. It seems he went around supervisors to do those deeds with phony invoices and such.

  • After hearing the 'headline' topping off each news update on AM news radio and the 10 pm news last night, the actual 'facts' made me whoop. I agree with first poster;
    - how do you use the terms 'fraud' and 'improper' about teachers, when they did not ask for or make payroll entries for 'benefits' (that's what they were calling them last night)? Better yet, how the hell can a sub take a sick day? How can ANY teacher take a vacation day? We don't get vacation days. The payroll system lets you view the holidays you will be paid for. You can't take them any time you want to. If some chucklehead in payroll was somehow able to do that, when they can't even pay people their actual pensions on time, how is that a retired teacher's fault?
    - IG, if you want to investigate theft of time, please look into the parade of posers that has been marching through Central Office for the past 10 years, no experience, no credentials, no relevant education, but who are, Jody Wiess fashion, automatically given TWENTY-FIVE vacation days a year, as do prinicipals who have been on the job for 20 years or more. And when they push off (take off, slink off), they are allowed to roll over that time to their next government job, or cash it in, as Jody did. And those days cost twice as much as those paid to a teacher, even a veteran one. This has been going on downtown since Duncan's days. Duncan, instead of questioning why teachers took sick days should have been asking why Central Office workers get as many sick days as teachers, when we are the ones who work in the germiest work environment extant, worse than even hospitals and clinics.
    - the NGHS story is spot-on, but this was a small-minded and petty tyrant who terrorized that school, but was lionized by CO for years. Why did they let it go on for as long as they did? She destroyed and damaged many valuable careers in a very short amount of time, but was installed by CO and worked for years there without benefit of a contract.
    - the thief with the personal purchases? Geez, ::give:: that guy the condoms. It would be a public service to ensure that person doesn't reproduce.

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