The majority of Chicago Public Schools teachers registered a no confidence vote in CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, the Chicago Teachers Union announced Tuesday afternoon.
Unlike the CTU no confidence vote in February, all union members were eligible to vote this time rather than just representatives from each school. With 80 percent of ballots counted, the CTU said that 99 percent of its members voted no confidence in Claypool. So far, 14,500 votes cast last week have been counted.
CTU President Karen Lewis said the vote sends a message to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that teachers and staff are unhappy with him and Claypool.
In an address at the City Club earlier on Tuesday, Lewis said Emanuel should have found more local money for schools to ward off an end-of-year budget crisis. Instead, Emanuel’s office announced last week that CPS would be borrowing again, even though the school district’s credit has been cut to junk status.
Lewis said the vote also allows teachers who’ve worked in cash-strapped schools all year to feel less isolated and alone.
Claypool pushed the blame back to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“CPS’ financial crisis is rooted in racially discriminatory state funding – to the tune of $500 million a year,” Claypool said in a statement “and it’s shocking that Karen Lewis’ top priority is anything other than holding the governor accountable for that injustice.
Lewis said she agrees with Emanuel and Claypool that the state should provide more money for education. But she said the city can’t “wait for Rauner’s cold heart to thaw” to get the schools out of the crisis.
Officials with Rauner’s office have said repeatedly that they don’t believe CPS’ crisis is due to the state budget problems, instead blaming it on “decades of fiscal mismanagement.”