RIVER NORTH — Chicago Public Schools teachers, in response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's call for them to "be part of the solution" to education funding, say he needs to work harder to find more dollars elsewhere.
Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin accused the mayor and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool of lying and refusing to pursue new sources of revenue in a blistering response to the Emanuel administration call for unity and shared sacrifice issued Wednesday night.
"Claypool and Rahm have been less than dogged in their attempts to get funding necessary for the school district," Gadlin said. "They have lied for months regarding the amount of money they needed to meet the needs of the school district."
Gadlin charged that Emanuel and Claypool had ignored proposals to find new revenue for CPS, such as potentially redistributing surplus tax increment financing district funds.
"We are advocating for increased funding for our schools," Gadlin said. "It is time for the mayor and Claypool to put some skin in the game. They have given nothing."
Gadlin added that the city has "levied cuts, reductions and closings as remedies to a revenue issue." She charged they had "ratcheted up the massive disinvestment in our schools" and "expect for our school communities to operate, in the 21st century, with large class sizes, zero art classes, no school nurses, few social workers."
The union has pushed for a series of tax increases, including a fuel surcharge.
CPS issued a diplomatic response.
"CPS teachers do extraordinary work, and they deserve the most generous contract that we can provide in challenging economic times," said spokeswoman Emily Bittner. "To do this, we've offered teachers a net raise of more than 6 percent over the life of the contract, along with increasing taxes on Chicago taxpayers by $250 million to fund teachers' pensions and cutting hundreds of administrative jobs."
Bittner added, "We remain committed to reaching a fair agreement for our teachers that the district and taxpayers can afford."
Gadlin made no reference to the strike threats union President Karen Lewis issued last week immediately after CPS released its budget for the next fiscal year.
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