Ousted Blaine Elementary School principal Troy LaRaviere published a blog post Tuesday detailing his removal from the school.
In the post, LaRaviere claims that a series of events led up to his reassignment and alleges district officials may have been tracking his emails.
LaRaviere was nominated to run for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Associaton in February. He claims that his opponent filed a petition that included signatures from Chicago Board of Education's Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, who was selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and an advisor to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, Denise Little.
CPS has previously said LaRaviere's removal involved a total of 12 charges, including ethics violations, insubordination and wrongful use of equipment. Jackson has also said his removal "was not a political decision."
LaRaviere claims that he received a message on April 19 requesting that he attend an “important meeting” the following day “regarding ethics and other matters.” CPS officials confirmed they had scheduled the meeting, but that LaRaviere never showed.
According to LaRaviere, he didn’t receive the e-mail because he was attending to a family matter. He claims the district did not attempt to call or send a letter regarding the meeting and, as a result, he didn’t attend.
Instead, LaRaviere had planned to attend two separate meetings on April 20: one with principals and other administrators at Stevenson Elementary School and another with an “insider with detailed knowledge” of a CPS contract arrangement that looked to privatize the management of the district’s engineers at an undisclosed location.
According to LaRaviere, the insider said “CPS is about to unnecessarily spend hundreds of millions of dollars” on a deal with Sodexo Corporation.
In 2014, the district entered into a $340 million deal with the Aramark and Sodexo corporations to privatize management of custodial services. Sodexo ultimately donated $150,000 to Emanuel’s 2015 bid for reelection.
LaRaviere claims that he was unable to gain access to Stevenson for his scheduled meeting. According to his story, he was met at the entrance by two security guards and a network chief, who oversees a large group of CPS schools. They told him that he couldn’t hold the meeting because it was “illegal” for principals to meet about contractors.
He holds that his meeting at Stevenson had nothing to do with the Sodexo contract and fears that CPS officials caught wind of his meeting about the contract after accessing his district e-mail.
“While my meeting with principals at Stevenson had been publicly advertised, I hadn’t told a soul about my meeting with the Sodexo contract insider,” LaRaviere wrote. “The only way anyone in CPS could have thought I was having an Aramark/Sodexo related meeting is if they had read our email exchange and thought—erroneously—that since the insider said he wanted to ‘make principals aware of the details of the contract’ that the principals meeting at Stevenson was for that purpose.”
LaRaviere claims that he signed off on a statement that said his account was not private and could be accessed by CPS officials when the district switched e-mail services "about five years ago."
Hours after he was denied access to Stevenson, LaRaviere was served with a reassignment letter outside of the home of his child’s mother. LaRaviere was banned from all CPS schools.
“CPS removed Troy LaRaviere because of alleged acts of misconduct, including violations of a previous Warning Resolution passed by the Board of Education,” spokesperson Emily Bittner said in a statement. “A hearing will be held to determine his employment status.”
While not clearly identified, it appears one of the charges involves LaRaviere's political work either on Chicago Public Schools' time or with CPS equipment.
His first hearing -- which is not public -- was scheduled for April 29th. The process may take six to nine months.
LaRaviere has been a vocal critic of Emanuel and CPS policies. He's also been politically involved in both Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's campaign for mayor and Bernie Sanders' presidential race.