School board honors late president

November 23, 2009 3:14:55 PM PST
The Chicago Board of Education remembered Michael Scott at its first meeting since his death a week ago.The public was also given the chance to honor Michael Scott at Monday's meeting.

With the exception of Chicago Public School's CEO Ron Huberman, last week board members did not publically make any comments about Scott's death. Many waited for Monday's board meeting to express their grief.

Through their comments, the public got a good sense of what Michael Scott meant to the board and to the Chicago Public Schools staff.

A bunting draped empty seat with Michael Scott's name plate was the center of attention at the Chicago School Board meeting.

The tribute to the late board president began with a moment of silence. It was followed by a proclamation emotionally read by board vice president Clare Munana.

"We hereby extend to the family of the board president Michael Scott, our very deepest sympathy and offer our gratitude," said Munana.

One week ago, Michael Scott's body was discovered in the Chicago River from an apparent suicide. Monday is the first time many school board members and staff spoke about the man they say is irreplaceable.

"I don't know if all of you sitting out there realize how hard and how much you worked for the board of education and how committed he really was," said Norman Bobins, school board member.

"He loved CPS and he loved this city," said Alberto Carrero, school board member.

Board members and staff say they are dealing with Scott's death by putting into action some of the life lessons Scott taught them.

"He would encourage me to look at what was before me and figure out how to deal with it, you know, how to resolve it. And if that wasn't possible, accept it for what it is and let it go and move on," said Roxanne Ward, school board member.

"I hope that starting today that we will put aside our personal agendas and that we will, as Michael did, put the children first. And I believe our commitment moving forward is to be more like mike," said Peggy Davis, school board member.

"I believe our commitment is to be more like Mike, one who believes service is an opportunity not an obligation," said Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, chief education officer.

"He was a great friend. And I love you, man, I love you," said David Pickens, chief of staff.

The school board meeting was primarily devoted to Michael Scott tributes.

The board saved serious business for an announcement made on Monday afternoon. The board has hired an attorney to conduct an independent investigation into the spending of all board members, including Michael Scott.

Last week, it was revealed that Scott charged a trip to Copenhagen on his school board expense account. School officials say Scott had started to pay the money back.


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