(WGN-AM)- The relative of a top aide to Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott got into prestigious Whitney Young High School through back channels before withdrawing after questions arose, in a case that's now part of an internal probe, sources told the Tribune on Wednesday.

District officials found out earlier this year about the incident involving Gregory Minniefield, a senior manager for the board. His relative was accepted into Young for the upcoming school year outside the regular application process, and officials "flagged" the admission, sources said. Shortly after, the relative was withdrawn from the ultracompetitive school, sources said.

The disclosure comes as the district is looking into admissions practices at the city's 52 magnet and selective-enrollment schools in an investigation schools chief Ron Huberman launched two weeks ago.

Minniefield could not be reached and district officials declined to comment. Joyce Kenner, the school's principal, refused to discuss the case.

The revelation followed Scott's confirmation Wednesday that he received a subpoena from federal authorities also investigating admission practices at the city's application-based schools. In addition, federal officials served a grand jury subpoena on the district seeking documents on the same issue, the Tribune reported Saturday. District and federal authorities have declined to comment on the investigation.

New details also emerged Wednesday about the district's internal probe. Investigators are focusing on principals admitting students into the nine elite selective-enrollment high schools at odds with board policies, a source said.

The internal probe is a separate investigation, however, and will be conducted by the inspector general's office. Huberman also hired an outside auditing firm.

School officials have declined to publicly discuss the internal probe, but sources said the district's law department noticed problems with the high school admissions process a few months ago. Last month, Huberman was alerted to a specific problem at one school.

Competition to get into these premier schools is fierce. Tens of thousands of students apply for a few thousand spots each year. Principals recount tales of parents begging to get in, donating money or pointing out that they know public officials or prominent business executives.

Entry into selective-enrollment high schools is based on a point system, with 1,000 as the top score. Points are generated from a student's middle school test scores, elementary school grades, attendance and entrance exam score.

Principals can select up to 5 percent of the students, but there are limitations. They can consider only extenuating circumstances, such as achievement in extracurricular activities, leadership, family hardship and whether a sibling also attends the school. Those selections are reviewed by the district's law department.

This privilege, instituted last year, has been controversial. Parents have complained that principals are abusing this discretion, enrolling students who are more well-connected than exceptional.

Investigators will scrutinize this process, the source said.

The internal probe also will look into allegations that some students were directly enrolled not through the regular admissions process or principals' discretion but through a back channel, the source said. Students allegedly just showed up on the rolls, the source said.

Investigators also will examine how principals are using a vague provision for transfer students, the source said. The school board policy does not clearly outline how transfer students should be admitted into the schools, the source said.

(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)

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