Feds Subpoena CPS Principal

Clout comes home to roost

By Andrew Greiner
|  Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 10:38 AM CDT
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Chicago School Gets Federal Attention

CPS

Whitney Young is getting a different kind of federal assistance.

The Chicago Public Schools clout scandal has caught the attention of the Feds.

Whitney Young Magnet Principal Joyce Kenner told the Sun-Times that she has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating how politically connected individuals have managed to skirt admissions rules for favored children.

Kenner said she has done nothing wrong.

"For me to have to go through this, for my family to go through this, for my school to go through this -- we don't deserve this," Kenner told the Sun-Times, nearly crying as she spoke.

The subpoena comes on the heels of two alderman admitting that they asked Kenner to use her discretionary “principals pick” to admit potentially unqualified students to the elite prep school.

Alderman Anthony Beale (9th Ward) and Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward) called on behalf of their children, but both said they’ve used their office to grease the wheels for constituents’ children as well.  Both deny pressuring Kenner.

"The call was made [to ask], 'Is there any space available?' The principal said, 'Yes.' So, I said, 'Can you look at her transcripts?' She looked at it and, based on that, she was accepted" Beale said about his daughter, an A-minus student, Monday.

Kenner said she didn’t feel like she was being political in allowing the students into the school.

"Some kids missed it by a few points. He [Beale] made a call, he asked if I could review it, and I felt she could make it at Whitney Young,'' Kenner said.

 "I try not to be political at all,'' Kenner said. "If you ask me how many aldermen there are, I don't even know. I'm focused on educating my students every day. . . . I have no hidden agenda. I have not taken money from anybody. I have not even heard rumors what this [investigation] is about. … I have no idea.''

Beale, for his part, decried the federal investigation as a waste of time

"They need to be investigating guns and drugs and gangs coming into our community instead of investigating people trying to help people get a good quality education," Beale said.

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