Breaking: Rahm gets sent to the principal’s office.

troy-for-mayor (1)

Drawing: Fred Klonsky

DNAinfo is reporting:

Troy LaRaviere was elected Thursday to lead the Chicago Principals and Administrators  Association, leaving an opening at the embattled Blaine Elementary School where he was ousted last month.

LaRaviere handily defeated opponent Kenneth Hunter who had the backing of top officials at Chicago Public Schools despite a troubled past involving a recent arrest for phone harassment and a formal warning from the district in 2013.

With 69 percent of the vote, LaRaviere will assume the presidency of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association in July. He replaces Clarice Berry, who did not run for re-election.

LaRaviere’s election leaves an opening at Blaine Elementary, where he took the reins as principal five years ago.

Unless retired, the president of the CPAA can return to CPS after the association term has completed, though not necessarily to the same school.

But if CPS proceeds with LaRaviere’s dismissal hearing, he might not have the same option.

The Blaine principal was suspended without pay last week after CPS removed him from the K-8 school April 20. The district was in the midst of a months-long process to fire him when he was elected Thursday.

The district did not respond to questions on whether LaRaviere’s being elected would suspend the district’s efforts to fire him.

The sudden removal incensed LaRaviere’s supporters, among them presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), who blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his revenge “obsession.”

The district charged LaRaviere with 12 accusations of misconduct, ranging from misusing school equipment to engaging in political activity during work hours. CPS said LaRaviere continued to flout his employer’s authority despite receiving a formal warning in August and a follow-up reprimand in December.

LaRaviere claimed his penchant for the truth led to his suspension without pay and denied taking political action during school hours during a radio interview Tuesday. He harkened back to his early criticisms of former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’scorrupt deal with SUPES Academy, which led to Byrd-Bennett’s resignation, a lawsuit and criminal charges against her.

“You want to reward the person who identifies waste and fraud, not punish them,” LaRaviere told WVON’s Cliff Kelley. “But punish me they did.”

“During my career as a Chicago Public School principal, I have often been at odds with the Chicago Teachers Union.”

troy-for-mayor (1)

-From Troy LaRaviere’s blog.

During my career as a Chicago Public School principal, I have often been at odds with the Chicago Teachers Union. I have been the target of multiple grievances filed by CTU against me when I have disciplined or dismissed a teacher. All were signed by Karen Lewis, and I fought most of them vigorously. Given that history, you might think it odd that I support several CTU stances.  However, I believe in a simple truth: When you’re wrong, you’re wrong; and when you’re right, you’re right. Unfortunately, our mayor and his appointed board of education have been so irresponsible and so reckless, that I find myself squarely in agreement with the CTU on several school issues.

When they’re right, they’re right.

Furthermore, during the latest contract negotiations, I have come to the conclusion that CTU’s refusal to accept the Board’s last contract offer gives the residents of Chicago the best chance we have to fix the causes of CPS’ financial crises. The continuation of the negotiations gives the CTU an opportunity to clearly and repeatedly articulate the real causes of CPS’ financial problems to Chicagoans, and to challenge us to hold our officials accountable and ensure they do not repeat their failures.

Those failures were described by Paul Vallas.  I’m not an admirer of his education policy, but Vallas was the last Chicago Public Schools CEO to leave the district with a structurally balanced long-term budget. He also left CPS with a fully funded pension system, and over $1 billion in reserves.  When Vallas returned to Chicago this past August, I was fortunate enough to have an hour-long conversation with him a few days before we both participated in a panel at the City Club of Chicago. During our conversation—and during the panel—Vallas outlined the financial rules that kept CPS budgets balanced during his tenure.  Those practices included the following:

  • He did not add programs without identifying additional revenue to pay for them.
  • He did not borrow for operational expenses.
  • He did not spend on new schools when there was declining enrollment. Building new schools should be based on demographics, not school reform ideology.
  • He did not redirect funding for pension payments toward other spending projects.

After Vallas’ departure, the mayor’s appointees to CPS lost all fiscal discipline and consistently violated every one of these sound budgeting practices. As a result of their mismanagement, CPS now claims they need “shared sacrifice” from teachers.  Teachers union officials don’t seem to have the kind of consistent and concise messaging the Mayor’s office has, so the average news consumer may not notice that within CTU’s response are the keys to solving CPS’ fiscal crisis.  I will take the liberty of fine-tuning CTU’s message and speaking as the Chicago public school teacher and union member I once was, before becoming an administrator nearly a decade ago.

Read the entire post here.