- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago Board of Education member appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2013 has stake in companies that have seen a boost in the business they get from the city’s schools, a newspaper reported Monday.

From 2010 until Deborah Quazzo’s June 2013 appointment, money paid to companies offering ACT prep and online tutoring that the venture capitalist invested in totaled $930,000. Since then, the companies have received an additional $2.9 million in Chicago Public Schools business, according to the Chicago Sun-Times (https://bit.ly/16IQ19S ).

One of the five companies will receive another $1.6 million this year from a school district contract, the newspaper reported.

Quazzo said she didn’t see a conflict of interest with her position on the public board and has recused herself from school board votes on contracts with companies in which she has a stake.

“It’s my belief I need to invest in companies and philanthropic organizations who improve outcomes for children,” she said.

She said she hasn’t concealed her involvement in the companies.

The newspaper, citing records it obtained, said she disclosed her links to only two of five companies on a recent ethics statement.

Chicago Public Schools spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Quazzo wasn’t required to list the other companies because those deals were made with individual schools, not the entire district.

“The requirements for these forms are laid out at a state level,” McCaffrey said, “and she has followed these requirements to the best of her knowledge.”

In the April ethics statement, which is the most recent one available, Quazzo said she doesn’t receive a salary from the companies. However, she could profit if they are sold.

Quazzo replaced Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker on the education board. Pritzker resigned in 2013 before being named U.S. Commerce secretary.


Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, https://www.suntimes.com/index



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