Rahm Promises Schools Will Open on Time, Dismisses CPS Strike Talk

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SOUTH SHORE — Insisting Chicago Public Schools “are going to open up on time,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel dismissed strike threats Monday and defended a $250 million property-tax increase as “what’s right” to fund education.

Speaking in South Shore, where he touted the completion of a district-wide air-conditioning program this school year, Emanuel assured parents the fall term would start as scheduled after Labor Day.

“They are going to open up on time,” Emanuel said of Chicago Public Schools.

As for threats of the Chicago Teachers Union going on strike, he added, “There’s a very fair solution that provides the teachers a pay raise, but also secures their pension” in the form of a contract offer on the negotiating table.

“We’re going to make the kind of investments we need,” Emanuel said of air-conditioning all classrooms. “That also includes a fair contract” for teachers.

Last week, teachers said they were still legally entitled to strike at any time, after calling off a possible walkout in May, but that their union House of Delegates would determine a course of action action after the school year begins Sept. 6. Teachers have thus far resisted a pay raise as insufficient to cover their picking up a 7 percent pension contribution previously paid by CPS.

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