Juan Rangel asks the Trib editorial board for forgiveness and gets it.
In a June 6th editorial, the Chicago Tribune editorial board came up with an amazing whitewash of the corruption at UNO and their charter operation.
Following a one hour sit-down with UNO Boss Juan Rangel and new UNO Chairman Matin Cabrera, head of Cabrera Capital, the Tribune gave their stamp of approval to putting the scandal behind us.
“We’re not going to join the calls for Rangel to resign. He has been a positive force in the rapid growth of UNO as an innovative charter school operator in a political environment that throws obstacles at charter schools. He seems to understand that his actions and the actions of others have put the organization at real risk,” said the Tribune editorial board.
Rangel, co-chair of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s election campaign committee and appointee to the city commission responsible for public building construction management has been the center of a scandal involving $100 million in state funds for UNO charter school construction. UNO is among the largest charter operators in the Illinois.
Continued the Trib editorial:
It is important to finish construction of the high school, which will be centered around the idea of using soccer as a hook to engage kids in a college prep curriculum that offers courses on sports science, health and business. The involvement of IFF should give the state some confidence that the remaining construction spending will be transparently managed. But the decision on releasing the money should rest on the results of an audit ordered by the state.
There’s another job to do. UNO reaps some $60 million a year from Chicago Public Schools to operate its classrooms. CPS officials tell us they haven’t looked closely at how UNO spends that money. This controversy should set off bells and whistles at CPS. UNO needs a complete financial scrub-down to settle any doubts about its management of public funds.
UNO is a major force in Chicago’s charter school movement. It runs excellent schools. It pushes innovation.
Chicago school activist Byron Sigcho responds:
This editorial is shameful, another reason why we must have LSCs in ALL schools (charters should not be exempt from this, especially when they receive heavy public funding). We can not expect corporate media to held accountable corporate interests.
Rangel admits he failed as CEO, as he signed inappropriate millionaire contracts with “people he trusted”, and there is no doubt he knew what he was doing. Rangel has family members on payroll and has made significant donations (through UNO staff) to political campaigns for candidates who will later protect their practices (yes, that’s right!)… these practices got him to be campaign manager for Rahm and secure UNO around $70 million in public bonds (that Mr. Cabrera and his financial firm helped to sell to wealthy investors)… some of these wealthy investors are able to double their investment in only 7 years, granted that UNO keeps growing and getting money from CPS.
Now, that is why they need Rangel to stay as CEO and Cabrera as the new chair, so they can profit from our children’s educational funds, which are more and more scarce thanks to these type of practices that are supported by a corporate mayor, a corporate media, and a corporate Board of Education-CPS.
The consequences of these type of schemes are already felt at some UNO Schools, there are at least two of them performing at level 3 (low academic performance – UNO Tamayo and UNO Las Casas) –http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=400084; so forget the argument about good performing schools because is just a matter of time before more and more funds will have to go towards the investors rather than educational needs, and guess who will be there to insure this will happen….