Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mayor Emanuel on CPS chief Brizard: ?He has my backing?

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard at a news conference last year. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: August 31, 2012 12:10PM

Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard said Friday he has the ?confidence of my mayor,? and Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed that Brizard?s job isn?t at risk if teachers go on strike.

?He?s got complete confidence in me,? Brizard told a WBBM-TV reporter, responding to a report that cited a ?high-ranking education source? saying the mayor will blame Brizard if there?s a strike and let him go.

At an appearance later Friday on the South Side, Emanuel agreed, dismissing the report as ?speculation? and saying of the unnamed source, ?I speak for myself. Nobody else speaks for me.?

?He?s doing a great job, and he has my backing,? Emanuel said.

Brizard also said he remains ?hopeful? a deal with get done before Sept. 10, which Chicago Teachers Union members set Thursday as a date to walk out of classrooms.

Brizard, who was appointed by Emanuel last year to lead the nation?s third-largest district, said he spoke with his boss Thursday night.

?I intend to work for the kids in this city, and I have the confidence of my mayor and the board of education,? Brizard said.

A third of Chicago Public School students started class for the new school year on Aug. 13. The remainder report to school Tuesday.

Sept. 10 is the first day teachers could walk out.

Some 700 union delegates voted unanimously Thursday night to do so.

Brizard said contract negotiations continue, with sessions scheduled through the holiday weekend and the first week of school.

?We?ve got to make sure we?ve got thing done before the 10th,? he said. ?I?m feeling good about the fact that we can get this thing done if the adults don?t walk away from the table.?


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