Trumbull LSC overturns Principal’s hiring decisions

September 9, 2011

Trumbull LSC rebuked summer hiring decisions of new Principal Venus Shannon. Credit: Trumbull School Web Site

In a fractious meeting Friday morning, the Trumbull Local School Council rebuked Principal Venus Shannon, refusing to support her hiring of a clerk, assistant principal and a math and science teacher. Shannon, who is in her first year as principal, admitted she made a mistake offering a job to a school clerk without the express permission of the LSC. Shannon said she relied on verbal approvals made by key members of the LSC, including the LSC Chair, Frances Martinez. However, Martinez did not support the hiring. “You cannot expect the LSC to approve something that hasn't been discussed,” Martinez told Shannon. Martinez told Shannon the positions were “illegal positions filled without LSC” approval. “You can't fill a position without LSC approval,” Martinez told Shannon in the meeting. Shannon asked the LSC to support her noting that Trumbull is on probation. “We need to move,” she said.  

Probation is determined by results from Illinois Standards Achievement Tests administered each spring, as well as attendance and measures related to reading and math. Receiving a probation designation indicates the school will be subject to additional oversight by the Chicago Board of Education.

The Board can order new LSC elections, remove or replace the principal, replace faculty members, reconstitute the school, close the school or contract the school out as an attendance center.

Of the 12 CPS schools that are located in or are neighborhood schools of Ravenswood, Hamilton is the only school listed by the CPS website as being on probation.

Trumbull was listed as being on probation in 2009-10, but is not currently listed on probation.

The Bulldog left a message at the CPS office asking why the LSC and the principal consider the school on probation when documents indicate it is not.

CPS has not returned the message.

As the meeting grew more heated, Shannon excused herself for a moment. “I feel pummeled here,” she said. “I don't like (the) toxicity we have at this school.” “Ms. Martinez (led) me” to believe the LSC supported the hiring Shannon told the LSC. In a 7-3 vote that split the school teacher representatives from community and parent representatives the LSC voted to close the positions. Effectively, the clerk position did not exist, the assistant principal would not be offered a job and the math and science teacher would be required to reapply for that position. Martinez said the LSC was only given 24 hours notice of the math and science position interview. She said the LSC needed additional time to participate in the selection process. After going into executive session, the LSC returned. Shannon said the clerk, who lost their position due to the vote, had left a position at another school to work at Trumbull. “The clerk came over on our word and has done wonderful work,” Shannon pleaded. “Without this clerk position this woman” will be out of work Shannon noted to the LSC. “I'm asking the LSC to restore the position,” Shannon said. “I'm asking (that the) two people who (are) already hired remain.” However the LSC voted 8-4 along lines that split the school members from community and parent representatives not to authorize the position of clerk.

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