CPS Inspector General to investigate paid protesters

January 26, 2012

(WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)
Some of the 400 people who attended the phase-out hearing of Crane High School were paid.

The Chicago Public Schools watchdog is investigating why people have been paid to speak out in support of school closings. The school district's Inspector General said they're looking to verify whether that's true, and if so - if it's legal.

Pastors who support school closings have been paying busloads of people around $20 each to hold signs and read scripts at public hearings. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has deflected questions from the press about it.

"I'm not speaking on it - I'm speaking about the fact that the ministers care about their schools and care about their community," Emanuel said at a Wednesday press conference.

In the past, clergy have spoken out against school closings. But this year marks the first time clergy have come out in force supporting the actions.