How to get rid of a CPS principal

By Staff | April 25, 2019

Excerpt from the Chicago Reader, April 25, 2019

Five months since CPS removed Dr. Michael Beyer, the principal of Ogden International School, from his position, he’s still getting paid but can’t return to work.

As the Reader reported in November, CPS justified Beyer’s removal with the findings of an Office of Inspector General investigation that concluded in June 2018. The heavily redacted OIG report, which was released to the public, cited “75 instances” over the course of three school years “where students were temporarily unenrolled and re-enrolled within the same school year,” or coded as transfers during prolonged absences. The OIG claimed that Beyer knew about and directed these falsifications. Though the OIG admitted they were “unable to determine” how these improper codings impacted the school’s attendance rate, the report nevertheless stated that “the OIG believes that Ogden perpetuated this unenrollment and transfer practice to manipulate the attendance numbers and protect Ogden’s SQRP.” (The School Quality Rating Policy judges and ranks schools by several factors, including attendance rates.) Since November, Beyer has also faced new allegations of mishandling student data.

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Beyer’s lawyers didn’t hear from the district again until January 24, when CPS issued never-before-seen rules for the pre- suspension hearing process and announced they were reopening a pre-suspension hearing on both the attendance fraud and the new data breach charges. The hearing rules said, among other things, that neither CPS nor the employee facing suspension may force the other side to present evidence or witnesses and that CPS’s ultimate suspension decision couldn’t be appealed. Beyer’s new preĀ­-suspension hearing was scheduled for January 31.

“After you tried a case and you’re about to lose you can’t go back and change the rules to try to win,” said William J. Quinlan, a lead attorney at The Quinlan Law Firm, which is representing Beyer. He said the newfangled pre-suspension hearing rules appeared to preempt their defense maneuvering. “It shows the zeal with which they want to fire Michael.”

On January 31 the CPS hearing officer didn’t allow Beyer’s lawyers to call any witnesses to defend him on either the record falsification or the data breach charges. A week later CPS decided to suspend Beyer without pay. If not for the Cook County judge’s injunction on all of their pre-suspension hearing decisions, he would have been. The judge is expected to rule on whether the suspension can go into effect at the end of April. Planning for Beyer’s termination hearing is still ongoing.

See full story at the Chicago Reader