CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools parents and other education advocates were outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at City Hall on Monday, demanding he “push the reset button” on his appointed school board, amid an ongoing contract scandal.
Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, a member of the grassroots group Parents 4 Teachers, alluded to the time in Washington when Emanuel sent a dead fish to an adversary.
“Because our mayor understands the meaning of dead fish, I have a message that I hope resonates with him about the state of Chicago Public Schools. A fish rots from the head down,” she said.
Cassie Cresswell, an organizer for the group More Than A Score, said a $20 million no-bid contract at the center of a federal investigation is not the only thing rotten at the Chicago Board of Education. She cited controversial investments by board member Deboarh Quazzo in companies doing business with CPS.
According to published reports, companies in which Quazzo has a financial stake have seen their business with CPS triple since Emanuel appointed her to the school board.
“We need a Board of Ed that’s free from financial conflicts of interest. We need board members who, unlike Quazzo, don’t see Chicago Public Schools as business incubators,” Cresswell said.
The advocates said they want Emanuel to dump the entire seven-member Chicago Board of Education, and appoint members who won’t allow corruption and cronyism.