Chicago Dirty Schools Fallout: Clarence Carson ousted over Dirty Schools Complaints Got $ 29,000 to Leave

After ousting Chicago Public School Facilities Manager Clarence Carson in November, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said the forced resignation would send a “message of responsibility for ourselves” following further complaints concerning dirty school buildings.

And then Martinez agreed to pay Carson just under $ 29,000 to go, records set by the Chicago Sun-Times.

This is according to the “severance and general discharge agreement” signed by top CPS lawyer on Nov. 9 that authorized payment to Carson of $ 28,958.85 – the equivalent of 60 days of his salary. annual fee of $ 175,100, plus health and dental benefits for his family until January 31.

Clarence Carson, who got nearly $ 29,000 to quit his post as facility manager at Chicago’s public schools in what CPS said was an unusual severance package.
Chicago Public Schools

Carson was kicked out on November 4, a week after the Sun-Times reported that an elementary school on the Southwest Side was so dirty that teachers, principal and other administrators had themselves seized mops and brooms , and the parents offered to lend a hand because CPS and a private contractor hadn’t even made sure the bathrooms had soap or toilet paper.

“There is a mutual desire of the parties to move in a new direction,” read the seven-page document detailing Carson’s severance package, which says the payment was “to ensure a smooth transition for the company. facilities department and resolve any issues related to Carson’s employment on the board.

Such severance pay is unusual at CPS. None have been offered to other top school system officials who have been ousted in recent years, including Carson’s predecessors in the top post.

Carson’s agreement specifies that he would not be barred from being rehired to work for CPS in the future, and there is no “Do Not Hire” designation in his personnel file.

Carson, 40, declined to comment.

Asked about her payment, a spokeswoman for the CPS first said officials “did not have time to answer your questions” and then did not respond to requests for follow-up comment.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.
Brian Rich / Sun-Times

A day after the Sun-Times reported that Carson was out, Martinez told reporters, “My commitment to our board, the mayor, parents and the community [is] we will hold ourselves accountable. And I will make the necessary changes. And just know that this will be the way we are going to work.

As children returned to classrooms full-time this school year after a year in which CPS relied heavily on e-learning at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school system has had struggling to keep schools clean amid a move to a new private contractor to oversee facility management. Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago property management company that was awarded the three-year, $ 125.5 million per year contract, had not previously overseen K-12 schools.

Despite years of cleanliness complaints, authorities also expanded the role of Aramark, another private contractor, to manage custodians of all CPS buildings after promising to get rid of Aramark and SodexoMagic. These companies had overseen the cleaning of Chicago schools since 2014.

CPS officials blamed a national labor shortage amid the pandemic for preventing contractors from hiring enough gatekeepers to fill vacancies so they could fully staff the city’s schools and find jobs. substitutes when the guards are sick.

Carson left after the Sun-Times in October reported problems at Eberhart Elementary School on the southwest side. Beside the dirty bathrooms with no soap or toilet paper, the hallways had not been cleaned in weeks, no one was taking the trash out of the dining room shared by most of the school’s 1,100 students, and Kindergarten children came one morning to a classroom littered with animal feces.

The CPS sent reinforcements after that. But officials still won’t say how many schools have brought in extra weekend shifts to clean up.

Carson was hired in 2018 to deal with issues that arose after the CPS privatized work and oversight of school facilities. He was the fifth CPS Facility Manager since 2014.

His predecessor also resigned under pressure following Sun-Times reports in 2018 about dirty schools.

And his predecessor was forced to leave in 2017 when it was questioned whether he lived in Chicago, as CPS rules require, or in the suburbs, where his wife and family lived.

Carson was making $ 170,000 a year until he got a raise in August, bringing his salary to $ 175,100, as part of a series of general raises given to school administrators and central office. of CPC.

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