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Brizard Denies His Job On Line If Teachers Strike

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago's school chief today denied reports that his job is on the line if talks with the teachers union break down.

"In 27 years of education, I have always been successful," Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said on the CBS 2 Morning News. "I have the confidence of the mayor and the board of education."

Brizard was responding to a report in the Chicago Tribune, which quoted an education source as saying Mayor Rahm Emanuel will blame him for not working out a contract.

A source said there is a good possibility that Brizard would be let go.

A mayor spokesman is denying the report, and Brizard told CBS 2 that the mayor called him to say he has confidence in him. He added one board member was upset by the report. Later on Friday, Emanuel said the same thing.

The teachers union set a Sept. 10 strike deadline, and plan to walk off the job if a contract is not reached.

"I am feeling good about getting this thing done," Brizard said.

Teachers union President Karen Lewis blamed CPS officials for dragging out negotiations, which hinge on pay increases and benefits and other issues.

"We have said from the beginning, we're tired of being bullied, belittled and betrayed," she told reporters during a Thursday evening news conference after the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates voted unanimously to set the strike date. "We continue to be vilified and treated with disrespect."

If teachers walk off the job, it will be the first Chicago teachers strike in 25 years.

The schools would be open during the morning for four hours (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), Monday-Friday, the CPS said in a news release.
CPS said it will use buildings with air conditioning, including gyms, cafeterias and computer labs.

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