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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Crain's: Emanuel facing decisions on Board of Ed

I'm sure we're going to hear more calls for an elected school board once again:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will have a chance to reshape the Chicago Board of Education in June, when four of the seven members' terms expire.

Emanuel revamped the board in 2011, appointing a fresh slate of new members. Five of those members are still there, having survived the uproar over the decision in 2012 to close 49 schools and one high school program. Last month, some parent groups demanded Emanuel again install an entirely new board, contending that such a step is needed to restore public confidence in the wake of a federal investigation into a no-bid contract the board approved in 2013.

Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th, Emanuel's floor leader in the Chicago City Council, says some changes are likely.

“In terms of the city government, we are looking at a little bit of reshuffling in terms of some departments. Not wholesale changes, but kind of a mini-transition,” O'Connor said. “I don't see why the board would be immune from that.”

But William Sampson, an expert in education policy, predicts that dissatisfaction among parents about the board will force Emanuel to make extensive changes.

“He's going to use this investigation to clean house and then pat himself on the back,” said Sampson, chairman of the Public Policy Studies Department at DePaul University. “In a sense it may be a godsend for him because it gives him the political cover to do it.”

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