June 27, 2012
Chicago Board of Education today approved the appointment of James Bebley as the new General Counsel for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Bebley has served as First Deputy General Counsel since 2003 and will assume his new position when CPS General Counsel, Patrick Rocks, retires at the end of this month.
“James has experienced CPS as a student and employee, which gives him a unique perspective and level of expertise that will add tremendous value to the work we do as a District every day,” said Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale.
Bebley, who grew up in Englewood and the Harold Ickes Homes on the Near South Side, is a product of CPS schools, having graduated from Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School and Robert Lindblom Technical High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign in 1982 and his Juris Doctorate from the U of I’s College of Law in 1985. He was admitted to the Illinois Bar the same year.
Bebley maintains deep involvement in the community. He has served on the corporate board of Chicago Youth Centers, the city’s largest independent youth social service agency. He chaired the Rebecca K. Crown Community Center’s board for five years and was a board member of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, an organization that provides housing, health care and human services to families, many of them immigrants who are transitioning to life in the United States.
As General Counsel, Bebley will oversee a department with a $24 million budget and a staff of more than 40 attorneys, plus paraprofessionals, investigators and support staff.
Bebley joined the Chicago Board of Education in 2002 as Deputy General Counsel for Finance. In 2003, he was appointed to his current position as second in command of the Board’s Law Department. Prior to joining CPS, Bebley had worked both in private practice and in the City of Chicago’s Law Department as an Assistant Corporation Counsel. He also worked as an assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office in the mid-1980s.
In August 2001, Bebley served as an advisor to an exploratory mission to Cuba, which examined education, economic development and civil rights issues with Cuban officials and business leaders. Bebley has also maintained ties with his alma mater as a past member of the U of I College of Law’s Board of Visitors. In 2002, he was honored as one of the College of Law’s most distinguished alumni.
Bebley will be paid $175,000 a year in his new position as General Counsel.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.