In a shock move, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot replaced a university board member with a longtime Town Corridor ally.

Lightfoot declared Friday that former North Lawndale alderman Michael Scott Jr. would substitute Dwayne Truss, whose term finished final thirty day period.

Truss said he experienced in the beginning been requested to carry on to provide on the board, then was notified last Thursday that he would not be reappointed. He questioned the timing of the shift, noting that it arrives following he referred to as for more transparency about the development of a new large faculty.

“I’m dissatisfied,” Truss claimed. “Students and family members that we provide should have genuine engagement and transparency.”

Lightfoot also appointed two other new members Friday to exchange Luisiana Meléndez and Lucino Sotelo, who declared very last month they would be stepping away from the board. The recently appointed members are Sulema Medrano Novak, a trial lawyer, and Paige Ponder, a former CPS employee and former CEO of One particular Million Degrees, an training organization.

Truss claimed the opposition to the high faculty and the mayor’s determination not to reappoint him to the board appear to be linked.

Alongside with other board customers, Truss expressed fears through spending budget hearings and previous month’s board meeting about a lack of community engagement and transparency for a proposed $120 million large university on the Around South Side, which was supported by the mayor. The opposition led district CEO Pedro Martinez to pull the approach forward of a vote all through June’s board conference.

Truss explained the district was “gaslighting” board members and attempting to “shoehorn engagement” all around the proposed higher university into a brief time frame prior to a opportunity vote.

In its place of organizing legitimate community engagement, Truss mentioned, CPS was “organizing supporters to guidance the university. CPS shouldn’t be carrying out that.”

Requested about the timing of the alternative, a spokesperson for the mayor in an e mail said Truss’s term had expired “and we would like him effectively.”

The appointments come immediately after Lightfoot dragged her ft for 10 months on a previous university board emptiness, appointing South Side community chief Joyce Chapman. It also marks what could be the mayor’s past round of appointments under a fully-appointed university board.

In 2024, Chicago will get started a shift towards an elected college board, which will have 10 elected customers and 11 appointed by the mayor. The board will changeover to a fully elected college board by 2027, with elections held in 2026.

Other board customers said they have been stunned by the information that Truss would not be returning to the board.

In a temporary phone connect with, Scott Jr. instructed Chalkbeat he was unavailable to speak Friday afternoon.

Scott Jr.’s father, Michael Scott Sr., was president of the Chicago Board of Education and learning below Mayor Richard M. Daley from 2001 until finally his loss of life in 2009. All through Scott Sr.’s time on the board, former U.S. Secretary of Instruction Arne Duncan served as CEO.  

Scott Jr. resigned as alderman in May perhaps to acquire a posture with the movie studio, Cinespace. Lightfoot appointed Scott Jr.’s sister, Monique, to succeed him in symbolizing the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Aspect. Lightfoot defended the move citing Monique Scott’s roots in the North Lawndale community and mentioned it is “lazy” of critics to get in touch with the appointment nepotism.

In a organized assertion, Scott Jr. explained he was “honored and humbled to consider on this new position with the Board of Education and serve college students, family members and staff members of Chicago Public Universities.” 

“This is an extraordinary prospect to establish on my father’s legacy with CPS and the continued travel to increase and expand pupil opportunities, encounters and results,” Scott reported. 

Ponder previously served as an Officer of Pupil and Assist and Engagement at CPS. In the course of her tenure at CPS, she led initiatives to drive up the amount of freshman pupils on track to graduate. Ponder serves on the Illinois Neighborhood Higher education Board. Her phrase expires in June 2023. 

“Becoming a member of these kinds of a historic board is not just an honor but a privilege,” Ponder stated. “For a long time, I have had the enjoyment of doing work with institutions that have geared up me for this role and I’m energized to support and obtain new methods to signify our university communities.”

Novak, a demo law firm with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will move down from the City’s Human Resource Board to provide on the university board.

Mauricio Peña is a reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago, masking K-12 colleges. Call Mauricio at [email protected].

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