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Brought in for reform, UNO Chairman Martin Cabrera Jr resigns after 3 months! "UNO: Corruption, profit and public accountability"

September 14, 2013 Leave a Comment

After joining UNO as Board's Chairman, Martin Cabrera Jr. resigns. During his short time, Gov. Pat Quinn restored the $98 million school-construction for UNO to complete construction of a new high school in the Southwest Side.

Read more at: http://www.suntimes.com/22550221-761/brought-in-for-reform-uno-chairman-resigns-after-3-months.html

Letter to Tribune's editorial team
"UNO: Corruption, profit, and public responsibility"

We are very disappointed by the Tribune’s June 6 editorial, “UNO scrambles to save itself” supporting Juan Rangel as UNO’s CEO, even though, as the Sun Times reported, many Latino community organizations and leaders are demanding that Rangel step down in order to have a transparent investigation of UNO and its real transformation.

 UNO is a publicly-funded institution and should be accountable to the public and taxpayers who support it. The crisis in UNO reinforces the need for ALL schools that receive public funding—including charter schools—to have elected Local School Councils. This is particularly so for UNO which has received more public funding than any other charter school operator. Only an elected LSC of parents and community members can restructure and hold accountable an organization that has misused public funds with the consent of the current UNO Board.

 What is the real reason Juan Rangel wants to remain the UNO CEO and Cabrera the new Board chair? Rangel admits that he failed as CEO, as he knowingly signed inappropriate millionaire contracts with "people he trusted." He put family members on the payroll, and made significant donations (through UNO staff) to political campaigns for candidates who are likely to protect UNO practices. This corruption and politicking secured UNO roughly $70 million in public bonds (that UNO Board President, Martin Cabrera and his financial firm helped sell to wealthy investors). If the Tribune were to investigate the economic interests at stake, it would find that investors can double their investments in charter schools in only seven years by using New Markets tax credits. But this depends on UNO continuing to grow and get money from CPS. Is UNO helping investors to profit from our children's educational funds?

 The Tribune’s claim that UNO runs “excellent schools” needs fact checking. The consequences of UNO’s financial schemes and its flawed education model are already felt at some UNO Schools, at least two of which- UNO Tamayo and UNO Las Casas—perform at the lowest level. We predict that it is just a matter of time before more taxpayer funds will go towards paying UNO’s investors, rather than addressing the educational needs of Latina(o) students. This is a disservice to our community and our children.

 Byron Sigcho,
Hispanic Literacy Council and Teachers for Social Justice

Pauline Lipman,
Professor Educational Policy Studies,
UIC and Teachers for Social Justice


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