Community Residents Call for the Mayor and the City Council to End Charter Abuses

Monday May 13 2013

Media Advisory : For Immediate Release
May 7, 2013

Contact:
Bill Drew – 773.458.3489
Member of the McKinley Park Civic Association and long-time neighborhood resident.
Nelson Soza – 773.899.0872 — Executive Director of the Pilsen Alliance
Rosie Mancera – 312.320.9790 – resident of Pilsen and board member of the Pilsen Alliance

CHICAGO— Nelson Soza, Executive Director of the Pilsen Alliance, says “school children should not be pawns in a political game of corruption and nepotism. It is time for the chairman of the Public Building Commission, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to demand that his appointee, the CEO of UNO, Juan Rangel, step down.”

UNO is under investigation by the State Inspector General for corrupt practices related to nearly $100 million in tax payer money for new buildings and construction. While facing investigation for clout contracting that handed millions of dollars of business to UNO insiders their family members, UNO CEO Juan Rangel is being handed even more influence over our public schools through his seat on the Public Building Commission. Mayor Emanuel, who appointed Rangel to the city’s Public Building Commission, recently decided to expand PBC authority to oversee all school construction, including schools set to receive students from the record level of school closures. Rangel, who co-chaired the mayor’s election campaign, will make decisions on construction and contracting policies for the Chicago Public Schools that his own schools do not have to follow. The UNO executive will oversee hundreds of millions of dollars in school construction while being investigated for the use of construction funds at his own schools

“It is time to take our city government back from the charter industry,” says Rosie Mancera, a parent in the Pilsen community, “Beyond the fact that UNO received huge political favors from the Mayor and state officials despite their spotty record of academic achievement, they continue to grow without restraint. In addition, the Zoning Committee, chaired by UNO founder Daniel Solis, has pushed for more charters into communities that don’t want them, despite the school district’s intent to close a record number of schools.”

On Tuesday, April 30th, the Committee on Zoning approved a zoning change for Concept Charter in the McKinley Park neighborhood despite the charter network’s history of anti-union activity, efforts to increase work visas for Turkish teachers at the expense of their educational program and strong-arm tactics to further the company’s rapid national expansion and business interests.
“In McKinley Park, we have found not one single person who feels that the community has been consulted on this. Nor have we found a solitary soul who is comfortable with the Gulen organization. Their track record of corrupt business practices, staffing their school board with foreign nationals, of subcontracting with foreign nationals, and importing un-qualified foreign teachers provokes outrage.
We hope that our alderman, George Cardenas, was not fully informed about the hidden agendas of Concept Charters and that he will withdraw his support for the new charter. Clearly the situation is out of control and the Mayor should allow a vote on the moratorium to stop charter expansion,” said Bill Drew, a member of the McKinley Park Civic Association.

For more information, call or visit Pilsen Alliance: 312.243.5440, www.thepilsenalliance.org