A watchdog for Chicago Public Schools received 140 complaints of possible residency violations among district employees, a new report found.
CPS employees are required to live within Chicago city limits like other public workers, unless they’re granted a waiver. The new annual report also outlined 15 cases of residency fraud, the Chicago Tribune reported. CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s 2019 report recommended dismissal or noted where the employee resigned during the investigation.
CPS did not dispute any of the report’s findings. In a statement addressing the findings, Emily Bolton, CPS spokeswoman, said the district is “committed to upholding the highest standards for operational excellence and employee conduct.”
“We take seriously our duty to hold accountable any individual who commits serious breaches of district policy or seeks to cause harm,” Bolton said. "The district appreciates the Office of the Inspector General’s continued efforts to investigate wrongdoing as we work to ensure all employees and operations are held to the highest standards of integrity.”
Schuler said the issue of residency fraud among CPS employees is not new.
“We get a lot of complaints every year on this, far more than we could actually investigate,” Schuler said. “It’s a steady, constant problem. ... This is more or less consistent with what we always do. We try to give some attention to it.”
Complaints of residency fraud included lunchroom attendants and central office staff. The report revealed that one teacher lived in Glenview about 20 miles from Chicago for the 14 years she worked in the district.
Another teacher provided false Chicago addresses to CPS for more than a decade while she was really living in Manteno, which is about 50 miles away.
Under the Chicago Board of Education’s residency policy, a CPS employee who lies about his or her address can be immediately fired.