Hearing was scheduled, then canceled, in December following WBEZ investigative report exposing apparent misuse of resources by outgoing CEO Claypool
CHICAGO (January 3, 2018)–Members of the Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus announced on Wednesday they will move to force the Education Committee to convene a hearing on special education funding. The move comes in response to a WBEZ investigative report that found CPS leadership had implemented secret plans to reduce programs and support for special needs students. The Education Committee had been scheduled to convene on the topic in December, but that hearing was then canceled with no explanation.
Progressive Caucus member Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22) said he plans to file the official notice this week of the 11-member group’s intent to invoke Rule 41 of the City Council Rules of Order at the January 17 City Council meeting. That rule will allow the Caucus to force the Education Committee to convene a hearing and consider the resolution the Progressive Caucus introduced regarding the special education funding scandal. That resolution was introduced in November with 34 co-sponsors.
“Parents of special education children–and all taxpayers in this city–are demanding answers, and they’ve waited long enough,” said Ald. Muñoz. “WBEZ found that CPS redirected funds intended for students with special needs, and significantly reduced the programs and specialized supportive services for special education. The public deserves an explanation.”
The aldermen urged their colleagues to vote in support the Rule 41 motion.
“This matter is too urgent to delay. We have a moral and legal imperative to end the mistreatment and cheating of our special needs students,” said Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, a former CPS counselor and leader in the Chicago Teachers Union. “CPS leadership must come before the City Council and answer for these violations. We urge our colleagues to support this motion.”
“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. “The Education Committee must meet to look into this apparent 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.
The Progressive Caucus is dedicated to creating a more just and equal Chicago, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all Chicagoans, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity. The Progressive Caucus includes Ald. Sophia King (4) Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6); Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10); Ald. Toni Foulkes (16); Ald. David Moore (17); Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35); and Ald. John Arena (45).