CHICAGO (October 19, 2017)–The City Council Progressive Reform Caucus on Thursday demanded Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool testify before the City Council Education Committee after a WBEZ investigative report found CPS leadership had implemented secret plans to reduce programs and support for special needs students.
“The report revealed what many CPS parents have long suspected–that likely in violation of state and federal law, CPS redirected funds intended for students with special needs, and significantly reduced the programs and specialized supportive services for special education,” said Progressive Caucus Chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32). “These disturbing revelations deepen our already grave concerns about Mr. Claypool’s leadership.”
“Given that the last CPS CEO is sitting in federal prison right now, one would think Mr. Claypool would tread more lightly when it comes to misusing federal dollars on high paid ‘consultants’ instead of their intended purpose,” said Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10), a former CPS counselor and leader in the Chicago Teachers Union. “This is nothing more than a kickback scheme. We demand answers.”
“Parents, teachers and principals have been protesting this pattern of willful neglect,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), who is also chair of the Black Caucus. “It is clear that this was a stealth scheme to slash the number of students classified as eligible for specialized services.”
The Progressive Caucus pointed to the scandal as further evidence of the need for an elected, representative school board in Chicago, instead of the current mayoral-appointed system.
“We have a moral and legal imperative to end the mistreatment and cheating of our special needs students,” said Ald. Ricardo Muñoz. “Forrest Claypool must come before the City Council and answer for these violations.”