The dust seems to have settled on the Curie High local school council following last year’s tumultuous and very public battle over the decision not to renew a popular principal’s contract.
But things could heat up.
Some LSC members who voted to oust Principal Jerryelyn Jones are now disputing the use of expedited procedures by council chair Otis Davis, one of former Jones’ defenders, to appoint two new council members. (The two new members are Brian McDonald and Mary Reyes. For more on the history of the Curie LSC, click here.)
At issue is whether the council properly gave public notice of the vacant seats before filling the seats with appointed members; Davis says the two were named to the LSC under emergency provisions that allow for such appointments.
In November, the board declined to take formal action in the matter, but recommended in a letter that Curie’s council start over and fill the vacancies after following protocols. This has yet to occur, however, according to the interim principal and a council member.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is looking into the conflict, according to a spokesman, who declined to comment further.
In the meantime, LSC members Tom Ramos and Jose Guttierez allege that Davis—who became chairman after predecessor Tom Ramos, the leader of the faction that opposed renewal of Jones’ contract, was ousted from the top spot—does not always follow procedures or provide documentation. The ongoing tensions and conflict at times lead to council members walking out of meetings.
Davis says he conducts council business “by the book” and notes that, with the two new members, the council has a quorum even if the two opponents walk out.
The council is also moving ahead with principal selection, Davis maintains, although a selection committee has not yet been formed. Last year, the board chose Assistant Principal Phillip Perry to serve as interim after Jones was promoted to area instructional officer.
Ramos, who was kicked off the council last May and then reinstated in October, says he’s not sure whether he’ll run again for a seat. As a parent member, he is eligible to run as long as his younger sister, for whom he is guardian, attends the school. This year, she is a junior. Ramos is also on the LSC at Columbia Explorer’s, where his child is in 4th grade.
Community member Gutierrez says he would like to pick a new principal before the current council’s term ends June 30.