LAKEVIEW — Blasting his dismissal hearing process as a "kangaroo court" that prevented his former school from moving forward, Troy LaRaviere has resigned as principal of Blaine Elementary School.
Three months after his election as president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, the outspoken critic of Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Rahm Emanuel tendered his resignation in a public blog post Tuesday.
"I don't expect your appointed board to deliver justice any more than I expect it to practice fiscal responsibility or competent educational management," LaRaviere wrote in his open letter to Emanuel. "However, my efforts to reverse your poor fiscal and educational management of our school system are just getting started."
LaRaviere's three-day hearing with an officer from the state Board of Education was set to begin Sept. 19. The embattled principal failed to comply with the legal proceedings, missing an Aug. 22 deadline to supply his evidence or list of witnesses, CPS said.
With his resignation, LaRaviere can no longer appeal his unpaid suspension and would not be eligible for a hearing, CPS said. LaRaviere said he has no intention of returning to CPS, but instead hopes to "to transform it."
LaRaviere was ousted from Blaine in April as the district moved to fire him for a list of accusations ranging from misusing school equipment to engaging in political activity during work hours.
The principal denied the charges and said he intended to fight the efforts to dismiss him, regardless of his new position with the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.
LaRaviere said he wanted to prove his innocence and highlight what he said was a clear effort by CPS to stifle his criticisms of the district.
"The flimsy charges you've leveled against me — combined with the recent elevation of my school as the No. 1 neighborhood school in Chicago — makes it obvious that your actions against me have everything to do with politics and nothing to do with what's good for students and families," LaRaviere wrote.
Ousted Blaine Principal Troy LaRaviere (left) hugs a supporter as County County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia looks on following LaRaviere's election to the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association in May. LaRaviere supported Garcia's run for mayor last year. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
He also shared evidence of 11 documented exchanges between CPS and City of Chicago attorneys identifying LaRaviere's dismissal as a "common interest." LaRaviere was denied copies of the actual exchanges, with CPS claiming they are protected with attorney-client privilege.
LaRaviere — a vocal supporter of former Rahm opponent Jesus "Chuy" Garcia — said that communication was proof that Emanuel's office was involved in the principal's removal from Blaine, despite the mayor's insisting otherwise.
LaRaviere said he hoped his resignation would help Blaine Elementary move forward with its search for a new principal to replace him.
The school has been caught in the crossfire of LaRaviere's fight with the district, leaving its Local School Council unable to proceed with the hiring process while LaRaviere's status remained uncertain.
During the dismissal hearings, LaRaviere's position was not considered vacant, meaning CPS could only appoint an administrator with limited authority. The dismissal process typically takes six to nine months, meaning Blaine could have been left without a full-time principal into 2017.
In light of LaRaviere's blog post, Local School Council will meet to determine its next steps, said president Gina Abbatemarco. The council was previously waiting for dismissal proceedings to conclude before it could legally proceed.
In his blog post, LaRaviere applauded Blaine's designation as the top neighborhood school in Chicago and No. 3 public elementary school in the city, as ranked by Chicago magazine.
He wrote of key accomplishments during his four years at Blaine, touting increased access to advanced curriculum and staff collaboration as reasons for the school's high performance.
"I did not succumb to corporate education fads," LaRaviere said. "I did not pander and I did not bend to the selfish aims of a privileged few. If an idea was not in the interests of the school as a whole, it did not happen under my watch."
LaRaviere said he will continue to head the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, which he has overseen for six weeks.
Among its efforts, CPAA was involved in amending the Democratic party's educational platform, formed action teams dedicated to city and state education policy, set up a weekly news service for school leaders and reframed its structure to better work with the district on decision-making, LaRaviere said.
Next, LaRaviere said the association is setting its sights on Emanuel's "wasteful expansion of absentee facilities management under Aramark and SodexoMAGIC" alongside teachers and engineers.
"We have an abundance of ideas for improving the system for the students we serve," LaRaviere wrote to Emanuel. "In the meantime, we will continue in our efforts to vigorously advocate for the kind of effective evidence-based education policies and practices that your office does its best to ignore and suppress."
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: