CHICAGO (CBS) — By a 99-1 margin, the Chicago Teachers Union has voted a symbolic “no confidence” in Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool.
The overwhelming margin didn’t seem to surprise CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey, rank-and-file union members, supportive aldermen, and representatives of other unions who gathered outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office on Tuesday to announce the results of the vote.
“If Claypool is going to balance next year’s budget on the backs of school clerks, and with further cuts in teachers, I don’t even know if we’re going to have a school system left to try to fund,” Sharkey said.
Sharkey said Claypool must go.
“We call on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire Forrest Claypool. He has lost the confidence of 99 percent; literally, he has lost the confidence of 99 percent of the educators in the Chicago public school system,” he said.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (15th) also said he wants a change at CPS.
“Our children need leadership; leadership that puts the interests of our children first, not the pockets of the rich campaign contributors of the mayor,” he said.
The union has said alternatives exist to the $389 million borrowing plan the Emanuel administration has said CPS will use to keep schools open through the end of the year and to make a required contribution of more than $700 million to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.
One speaker on Tuesday compared that plan to a payday loan.
Some aldermen have backed proposals to drain tax increment financing surpluses and to revive a corporate head tax to bail out CPS, but those measures have been bottled up in City Council committees.
In response to the no confidence vote, Claypool issued a statement blaming Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state for the district’s financial mess:
“CPS’ financial crisis is rooted in racially discriminatory state funding – to the tune of $500 million a year – and it’s shocking that [CTU President] Karen Lewis’ top priority is anything other than holding the Governor accountable for that injustice.”