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HomeIllinois NewsChicago Public School parent files ethics complaint over anti-GOP letter

Chicago Public School parent files ethics complaint over anti-GOP letter




CHICAGO – Wednesday, Chicago GOP chairman Chris Cleveland filed an ethics complaint against Chicago Public School head Forrest Claypool over a letter Claypool sent home with 381,000 students blaming Governor Rauner and President Trump for the district's latest budget cuts. 

"Using public time and resources on such a letter should always be considered a misuse of taxpayer funds, but it is made even more egregious in light of CPS’s self-declared financial crisis," Cleveland wrote in his complaint. (Full letter below the fold)

Chicago media crowded the press conference Wednesday, and Cleveland called IR on his way to hear Claypool's press conference comments in response. 

"The gist of our press conference was, 'Don't send political propaganda home with my Chicago Public School kid," Cleveland said.

UPDATE: This afternoon, Chicago GOP Chairman Chris Cleveland was escorted out of a Chicago Public School press conference and prevented from asking why taxpayer dollars were used to fund political propaganda.

On Chicago Public School letterhead, Claypool's memo opened with, "Governor Rauner, just like President Trump, has decided to attack those who need the most help. Governor Rauner and President Trump regularly attack Chicago because they hope to score political points. It's shameful." 

The letter goes on to say the governor "broke his word" by blocking $215 million from CPS. 

"Governor Rauner's decision to take $215 million from CPS forces us to make some tough choices.  You will not like these cuts. We don't like them either. In fact, we are very, very angry that we have to make them."

He goes on to list how the cuts will change their children's schedules and schools. 

Then Claypool reinterates whose fault he says it all is – "And like President Trump, Governor Rauner is targeting our most vulnerable citizens: immigrant children, racial minorities, the poor." 

And closes with "Please join us in demanding that the Governor and his friends stop acting like President Trump."

Yes, taxpayers paid for the printing costs of the letter. 

Claypool has been under a lot of pressure. Last week, the governing board of the Chicago Teacher's Union called for his immediate resignation.

The governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union called for the "immediate resignation" of schools chief Forrest Claypool on Wednesday, a symbolic gesture that also denounced budget cuts and layoffs implemented by the city amid ongoing budget turmoil.

Chris Cleveland filed this letter Wednesday with the Office of Inspector General for the Chicago Board of Education:

Mr. Schuler:

Earlier this week, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool used taxpayer resources to send a blatantly political letter home with students.

The letter was sharply criticized by parents as “inappropriate” and rebuked by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform as “invoking partisan politics.”

Using public time and resources on such a letter should always be considered a misuse of taxpayer funds, but it is made even more egregious in light of CPS’s self-declared financial crisis.

Via this letter, I am formally filing an ethics complaint against Mr. Claypool and ask that you investigate Mr. Claypool’s latest actions as part of your on going review of Mr. Claypool’s questionable stewardship of Chicago Public Schools.

Coming on the heels of the school district blocking an investigation into a $250,000 legal contract with Mr. Claypool’s former law firm and interfering in another investigation of major theft and “criminal conspiracy” by a CPS’ employee, Mr. Claypool’s latest misuse of taxpayer dollars appears to be part of an alarming personal habit of disregard for and abuse of the public’s trust.

Former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett serves as a cautionary tale of what happens when high-ranking CPS officials thinks the rules don’t apply to them.

I ask that you look into Mr. Claypool’s pattern of unethical behavior to help guard against CPS finding itself with the same fate under Mr. Claypool as it had under Ms. Byrd-Bennett.

More to come on this … CPS letter first made available by WGN TV 




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