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Chicago Citizens United to

Preserve Public Education



Hello, my name is Valerie Leonard, with Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education.
We are a coalition of grassroots organizations and individuals who work with a number of
education issues. We are here today to share some of the details of our recent complaints to the
Inspectors General for CPS and the U.S. Department of Education.

I'll start by sharing remarks regarding apparent conflicts of interest. Dwayne Truss will make
remarks on what some would call pay to play between the AUSL board members and CPS.
Carolina Gaete will address the fact that AUSL does not provide the best return on investment
for taxpayer dollars. After that we will open it up for questions.

Apparent Conflicts of Interest-Valerie F. Leonard

We asked the Inspectors General to examine the relationship between AUSL, and CPS. We were
particularly interested in learning if there were any conflicts of interest surrounding the last vote
to turn over three schools to AUSL for turnaround. President Vitale is the former Board
Chairman of AUSL. Before serving as board chairman for AUSL, he was the unpaid Chief
Administrative Officer of CPS. This position is now held by Tim Cawley, who is a former
managing director for AUSL. Both men are in a position where they approve contracts for CPS,
including AUSL management contracts. AUSL is the exclusive provider of turnaround services
for CPS.

Since he joined the Board of Education in 2011, President Vitale has consistently voted to
approve school turnarounds using AUSL as the contractor. He has also voted for the underlying
management contracts, valued at $300,000 for each school under AUSL management. To date,
he has voted for 15 AUSL turnarounds and management contracts, valued at over $4.5 million.
This does not include additional funding of $420 per pupil; approvals for capital improvements
associated with turnarounds, or teacher training costs. Mayor Emanuel estimated that it would
cost $10 million to train enough teachers to staff eight AUSL schools when he was running for
mayor. Capital costs associated with the schools turned around since Mr. Vitale joined the Board
are estimated to exceed $30 million.

Dr. Carlos Azcoitia has extensive experience at CPS as a teacher, principal and administrator. He
is currently a Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at National Louis University.
National Louis University has an exclusive relationship with AUSL to jointly develop a training
program for AUSL teachers. Dr. Azcoitia joined the Board of Education in 2012, and has voted
to turn over a total of nine schools to AUSL. Dr. Azcoitia recused himself from voting on the
underlying management contracts given his employment with AUSL. It would seem to us, that,
if one has a conflict of interest with voting for the management contracts, then one would have a
conflict of interest with voting on the turnaround, particularly, when the only options CEO
Barbara Byrd Bennett recommended for reconstitution were for AUSL turnarounds.

We asked the Inspectors General to examine these votes, as well as the relationships of all
members of the Board of Education to make sure there are no conflicts of interest surrounding
these votes. We need to end this culture that at a minimum, gives the appearance of self dealing
among board members. We are also concerned that decisions to turn schools around could
possibly be driven more by the need to place teachers going through the AUSL training program,
than by an objective assessment of school performance and alternative strategies.

At this point, I will turn over the mic to my colleague, Dwayne Truss who will speak about pay
to play among AUSL board members and CPS.

Remarks by Dwayne Truss

Remarks by Carolina Gaete

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