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Shenanigans: District Staff Hold Speaker Spots In Chicago

It's controversial but common practice in Washington for lobbyists to hire college kids or homeless folks to stand in line for them in order to get spots in hearings and markups, but now that practice has seemed to spread all the way out to the Chicago Board of Education.  

image from www.chicagonow.comThe monthly events, which are held during the week downtown, already require speakers to get up and arrive at the crack of dawn in order to wait in line and sign in for a 2 minute spot.  Even then, not all speakers get their chance.  This week, according to parents who were there to debate the longer school day and year that's been proposed, school district employees showed up at the crack of dawn to hold spaces for parents who would speak in favor of the school board's position.   The district admits that staff were there to help parents with the process, but vehemently denies that they were holding spaces (much less cutting).   "A few members of the FACE team were downstairs answering questions from parents who were waiting in line. There were many parents in line today who were participating for the first time in the board process and were unfamiliar with how it worked."

Yes, this is the same district where protesters were allegedly paid to show up at by community groups with city contracts, and where the district was just this week forced to pay teachers back pay for a longer day forced down the throats of 13 schools in September. 

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