Proposal would hand more control to CPS

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In May, Board officials made a round of visits to reform groups to introduce a proposal for restructuring the district’s relationship with LSCs. Initially, they sought to strip councils entirely of their authority to pick principals, instead having them submit a list of three candidates to the board for final selection—an idea that died on the vine.

Here are the main provisions of the district’s proposal to take more control over principal hiring and firing:

Limits on firing. Principals whose contracts expire after June 1, 2007, and who have received favorable job evaluations from area instructional officers during each year of their contract, would have their contracts renewed automatically, whether LSCs want to retain them or not.

Burden of proof on LSCs. Principals who are not rehired and take their case to arbitration would no longer have to prove their school’s LSC made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision not to rehire them. Instead, the burden of proof shifts to LSCs, which have to prove that decisions were made “in the best interest of the school and its students.”

Limits on evaluation: Old language outlining criteria LSCs can use in evaluating principals – such as student improvement, instructional leadership, and school management – stayed in the bill. However, the proposed bill strips out language that gave LSCs the power to use “any other factors deemed relevant … without limitation.”

Valencia Rias, a director with the research and education advocacy group Designs for Change, says the proposal dilutes evaluation standards by taking away LSC’s ability to determine relevant factors.

No final say on alternates: When a principal vacancy arises and the LSC fails to select a new principal, the district would no longer be required to choose a new principal from among the candidates submitted by the LSC.