According to an inspector general's report released last week, Chicago Public Schools employees stole thousands of dollars in gift cards meant to go to Chicago's needy children, wasting money on personal items, and even a "teacher's lunch club" that featured lobster and steak.
The report indicated that teachers and administrators used the gift cards freely, even though they "were donated to the students and were intended to help address their specialized needs,” the Chicago Tribune reported. One principal, who runs a "school for vulnerable students," stole around $500 in gift cards, and then gave 30 backpacks full of school supplies to "an acquaintance," and not the students they were destined to help.
An "elementary school principal" used "$22,000 in school funds for personal purchases at Costco and Apple stores," and another "used school funds to fund a 'teachers’ lunch club' featuring lobster, shrimp and steaks."
Of the $250,000 in gift cards donated to CPS students overall, $10,200 were used for "personal purchases," some of which included wedding favors, a trip to a casino in Iowa, and lots of restaurant meals.
The saddest part of the report, though, may not be that Chicago school administrators were using money intended for needy students to line their own pockets, but how desperate Chicago students are to get out of the Chicago Public School system.
The inspector general's report covered misbehavior across the spectrum by everyone involved in the school system. Thousands of parents across the school system, the report concluded, reported incorrect locations and used false addresses in order to get into CPS' lottery program, which lets students escape failing neighborhood schools and attend better CPS magnate schools.
The kids are trying their best to get out.