Former Schools CEO Paul Vallas Believes Teachers Strike Will Be Short

Bernie Tafoya
October 17, 2019 - 1:47 pm
Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A former head of the Chicago Public School system believes the teachers strike that started Thursday is going to be a short one.

Former Schools CEO Paul Vallas said teachers and support staff have every reason to be angry at the system after what they went through with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, “being forced to give things back, the closing schools without establishing a really sound process,” and the lack of consistency in budgets.

He said, though, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has gone beyond some recommendations and offered teachers a nice financial package, 16 percent pay raises over five years and no touching of their “step pay increases”.

“This financial package is too good for them to strike long. They’ll probably compromise on some language calling for the phase-in of the additional staffing that’s going to be needed,” he said.

Paul Vallas ran the schools from 1995 to 2001, and there were no teachers strikes during that time. He jokes that people were too exhausted from the teacher strikes and work stoppages that had happened during the 15 years before that.

Vallas believes the pay raises offered to teachers will, in the end, be too good to leave on the table for long.  He also said some of the things teachers are asking for would tie the Mayor’s hands financially in years to come.

“I’m not saying class sizes are acceptable or that there’s an acceptable level of support staff.  I’m just saying the schools are not out of the financial woods, yet," he said.

Vallas said that while the Illinois General Assembly came through with more money for schools this year, there’s nothing to say when that kind of help may stop.