Scott to return as CPS board president

February 23, 2009 4:39:18 PM PST
It became apparent shortly after Arne Duncan left the Chicago Public Schools to go to Washington that Rufus Williams would soon be asked to leave.That has now happened. And the mayor is bringing back someone who is already familiar with the job.

"He's very good. I have confidence in him in regards to what he did previously in education," said Mayor Daley.

As expected, Michael Scott was called on Monday to reprise his role as Chicago Public Schools board president, taking over from Rufus Williams who resigned Friday after Williams, says the mayor, made it clear to him that he wanted to move in a new direction.

But on Monday Williams did not go into details about his departure.

"I'll simply state that by many indications it was time," said Rufus Williams, outgoing CPS Board president.

Scott returns to the role after serving as board president from 2001 to 2006, when he left the often time consuming and unpaid post to concentrate on his development business.

"Public service is a blessing. I am honored to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the city," said Michael Scott, CPS Board president appointee.

The change comes on the heels of Arne Duncan leaving as schools CEO to become secretary of education.

Williams has had a contentious relationship with parents' groups who've criticized him for leaving them out of the loop regarding the plans. The timing of the appointment is important because it comes just two days before the next board meeting, where a new round of school closures is expected to be announced. Daley is asking the board to elect Scott as president at that meeting. On Monday, both Daley and Scott said they see no need to delay announcing the closures.

"What I said I would do is consult with Rufus, with the new superintendent and most importantly with Dr. Watkins, whose office is mostly responsible for making those recommendations. I will hear what they have to say and make those decisions then," said Scott.

Those school closures come under the renaissance 2010 plan. It is not know yet which schools are on the final list.

As for Rufus Williams, he said although he leaves public service for now he is open to serving again in the future.