Chicago schools leader gets to work - as a volunteer

May 17, 2011

By Linda Lutton

(WBEZ/file)

Jean-Claude Brizard will show up at Chicago Public Schools' headquarters Tuesday, even though he's not officially the CEO yet.

He'll be briefed by top school officials. But so far, Brizard is just a volunteer. Terms of his contract are still being worked out, though his appointment may be finalized at next week's school board meeting.

Brizard made $235,000 at his last job in Rochester, New York. That's $5,000 more than former Chicago schools CEO Ron Huberman.

Education and the city's schools dominated Mayor  Rahm Emanuel's inauguration speech Monday.

"Our children and their schools must come first," Emanuel told a crowd at his swearing-in Monday.

Brizard and a brand-new school board will have to turn immediately to a $720 million dollar gap in the budget for next year.  They'll also need to figure out whether new legislation moving through Springfield would make a longer school day possible by the fall. That's' been one of Emanuel's priorities.