Ethics - Q & A 

Secondary Employment

Q.I am a teacher who has been offered a part-time job during the school year after school hours. How do I know if acceptance of this part-time job will comply with the Code of Ethics?

A. All paid non-CPS employment is considered Secondary Employment under the Code of Ethics. Any employee who engages in Secondary Employment must submit a Secondary Employment Form. As a school employee engaged in Secondary Employment during the school year, you are required to complete a Secondary Employment Approval Form, have it signed by your principal, and submit it to the Ethics Advisor. Your Secondary Employment will likely be approved unless the timing or substance of the Secondary Employment constitutes a conflict with your CPS employment. Please click here and refer to Sections XIII (C)(4) and XIII (D) of the Code of Ethics (located on page 11 of the Code).

As a school employee in a bargaining unit, you should also submit a Secondary Employment Intersession Notification Form if you engage in Secondary Employment during any intersession period. Please click here and refer to Section XIII (C)(4) of the Code of Ethics (located on page 11 of the Code).

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Statement of Business and Financial Interests (SBFI)

Q. Which Board employees are required to complete annual Statement of Business and Financial Interests?

A. Board employees who have a certain level of responsibility in the organization will be required to complete annual financial disclosure statements. These employees must complete and file two separate forms: one form filed internally with the Ethics Advisor, and a separate form filed externally with the Cook County Clerk. Both forms are needed for full compliance.

If you are required to file a Statement of Business and Financial Interests (SBFI) for Chicago Public Schools, you will receive notification in your CPS email inbox from SBFI@cps.k12.il.us, a special email address set up for this purpose. Please watch for this email in late April or early May. You will also receive a separate email notification (at a different time) to file a Statement of Economic Interests with the Cook County Clerk. If you do not receive these notifications, then you are not required to file. This is true even if you have completed statements in previous years. Please click here to refer to Section XVII of the Code of Ethics (located on page 13 of the Code). Please click here for FAQs regarding Statements of Economic Interests for the Cook County Clerk.

Q. Every year I have to complete and file economic interest disclosures for the County and for Chicago Public Schools. How do I file my economic disclosures?

A. Your Statement of Business and Financial Interests (SBFI) should be completed and submitted electronically using your PeopleSoft account. Electronic filing offers many advantages. While completing the form, you can save your progress and complete the rest of the format a later time. When signing your form, a handwritten signature is not required; your PeopleSoft username and password comprise your electronic signature. Filing the form electronically ensures prompt and secure delivery. Any SBFIs that you previously filed electronically are also available for your reference.

Your Statement of Economic Interests for the Cook County Clerk will also be filed electronically. Please click here and see the Cook County Clerk’s webpage for more information.

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Political Activity

Q. A candidate for political office would like to use my school’s auditorium for a rally. Can I allow the candidate access to the auditorium?

A. Yes. Political campaigns are treated like other community organizations and may enter into agreements to use school property anytime the property is available for public use (outside of school hours, and provided no other school activities are scheduled). The candidate or campaign must secure a School Use Permit, pay all expenses associated with the use of property, and satisfy any Board requirements, including the provision of adequate insurance.

If you permit access to one candidate or campaign, you must permit access to all candidates or campaigns. Likewise, if you refuse access to a candidate or campaign, you must refuse all candidates or campaigns. Please click here to refer to Section XVIII (H) of the Code of Ethics (Located on Page 14 of the Code). Further guidance can be found in the Ethics Guidelines for Political Activities.

Q. I am working on the campaign of a candidate for political office who I believe will do a fabulous job if elected. I want to inform my co-workers of the candidate’s positions on the issues and ask them to vote in the election. If I send an email from my home computer to their Board emails, will I be in compliance with the Code of Ethics?

A. No. Writing from a Board email address or to a Board email address to promote a candidate for elected office constitutes a prohibited use of Board resources to perform a political activity. Please click here to refer to Section XVIII (F) of the Code of Ethics (located on page 14 of the Code).

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Reporting a Code Violation

Q. I am an assistant principal and it has come to my attention that an employee at our school may have violated the Code of Ethics. Am I obligated to take any action?

A. Yes. Any Official or Supervisor who knows or has reason to know of a potential ethical violation is required to report the matter to the Ethics Advisor. Please click here to refer to Section XII (F) of the Code of Ethics (located on page 10 of the Code).

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Board Membership

Q. I have been offered a position on the board of directors of a charter school whose charter is issued by the Chicago Board of Education. Am I allowed to accept the position?

A. No. Due to the unique relationship between charter school operators and the Chicago Board of Education, the following are prohibited from sitting on the governing boards of charter school operators that hold a charter issued by the Chicago Board of Education: CPS officials; CPS employees and their spouses; CPS employees’ domestic partners or civil union partners; and members of CPS employees’ households. Please click here to refer to Section XI (G) of the Code of Ethics for more information (located on page 9 of the Code).

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Honorariums

Q. I have been offered an honorarium for public speaking at a conference. Is it permissible for me to accept the honorarium?

A. Yes, the Code of Ethics allows acceptance of the honorarium. However, the Code requires that you report the honorarium to the Chief Financial Officer within 10 business days. Please click here to refer to Section XII (F) of the Gifts, Loans, and Favors section of the Code (located on page 10 of the Code).

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Recommending / Hiring Relatives

Q. I am a current employee. My nephew just received his Master's degree and is interested in working for Chicago Public Schools. Is it permissible for me to forward his resume to some people I know in other departments with a letter recommending him for positions I know they have open?

A. No. The Code of Ethics prohibits attempting to influence the hiring or appointment of a relative. Even if that is not your intention, this could easily be viewed as an attempt to influence and should be avoided. Recommend that your nephew apply for open positions through the eBulletin and get hired on his own merits. Please click here to see Section VI (B) of the Nepotism section of the Code (located on page 6 of the Code).

Q. Is it permissible under the Code of Ethics to work at a school if you are a relative of the school’s assistant principal?

A. No, this violates the nepotism provisions in our Code of Ethics. Under our Code, supervisors may not supervise a relative and an assistant principal is considered a supervisor of all other employees in the school. Please click here to refer to Section VI (F) from the Nepotism section of the Code and Section II (HH) from the Definitions section of the Code (located on page 11 of the Code).

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Employees as Vendors/Contractors

Q. Is it permissible for an employee to simultaneously be a vendor or contractor?

A. No, this violates the Economic Interests provisions in our Code of Ethics. Under our Code, an employee may not have an economic interest in any contracts, work or business of the Board. Please click here to refer to Section VIII (A) from the "Economic Interest in Contracts and Board Work – Employees" section of the Code (located on page 7 of the Code).

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Supervisor Gifts

Q. A group of co-workers want to contribute to a gift for their supervisor who is about to have a very big birthday. The individual contributions are $10, but the aggravate value of the gift is $200. Is it permissible under the Code of Ethics for the supervisor to accept the gift?

A. Yes, this is permissible under the Code of Ethics. Under our Code, no one may give a supervisor a gift of over $50, but in this case the individual contributions are below that amount. If for any reason the supervisor feels uncomfortable about accepting the gift or feels that the gift is meant to influence his or her official actions, the supervisor should not accept the gift. And of course any participation in a group gift must be completely voluntary and non-coercive. Please click here to refer to Sections XII (A), (B), and (C) from the Gifts, Loans, and Favors portion of the Code (located on page 9 of the Code).

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Page Last Modified on Thursday, October 09, 2014

Contact information

Andra Gomberg
Ethics Advisor

Talent Office
125 South Clark Street
2nd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone: (773)553-1312
Email: agomberg@cps.edu