* Chicago Crusader…
Tensions are escalating at Chicago State University, where sources tell the Chicago Crusader that Gov. Bruce Rauner is getting pushback from some officials as he seeks to make former CPS chief, Paul Vallas, president of the university. […]
Sources told the Crusader that on March 3, Rauner’s Education Secretary, Beth Purvis, called a meeting with Board of Trustees chairman Marshall Hatch and Tony Anderson. Anderson is board chairman of Perspectives Charter Schools and serves on Rauner’s newly-created eight-member advisory council at CSU.
Rauner was not at the meeting, but sources told the Crusader that Purvis told Hatch and Anderson that Rauner wanted Vallas to be the president to replace Thomas Calhoun, who abruptly resigned last September under mysterious circumstances.
Sources told the Crusader that if Rauner’s request isn’t met, he will not secure additional funding to help solve the school’s financial woes and withdraw his support. The Board of Trustees would also risk losing Vallas—an important member who gained praise when he served as CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 1995 to 2001. At a time when CPS was financially bankrupt, Vallas was credited with keeping the school system afloat and boosting academic achievement among the district’s minority students. […]
Sources said Rauner’s plan to get Vallas as president did not sit well with Hatch, who has served on the Board of Trustees since 2015. Another board member, Nikki M. Zollar, who has served on the board since 2013, said she said “no” when she was called about Rauner’s request.
* Rauner administration response…
“First, any notion of threatening future state funding is entirely false. Second, the Governor’s Office has been in regular communications with CSU leaders about potential university leadership candidates, including Paul Vallas, to work towards a turnaround of this university in crisis.”
* Mary Mitchell followed up…
Purvis acknowledged the meeting with Hatch, Anderson and Vallas but denied putting pressure on the two board members to get the votes needed for Vallas to be president.
“There was a conversation about how do we bring the urgency so we can bring more resources to the university,” she said. “There was absolutely no threat.” […]
“I don’t understand his purpose,” Zollar said. “I was shocked that he was going to be on the board. And I was even more shocked that the governor wanted him to be the chairman of the board.
“Paul himself have said in many meetings, ‘I want to be the president of the university.’ I do think he has all good intentions, but I wouldn’t be able to support the idea of Mr. Vallas being the president of CSU because he doesn’t have the requisite background in higher education.
Vallas has a masters degree from WIU.