Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard may be in need of a new job if the city's teachers follow through on their call for a walkout on Sept. 10.
Citing "a high-ranking education source," the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is frustrated with Brizard over how he has handled contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union as well as the city's implementation of a longer school day.
Despite the Tribune report's claim that the mayor may let Brizard go if a teacher strike occurs, an Emanuel spokeswoman told the paper that report "couldn't be further from the truth, the mayor has complete confidence in J.C."
Brizard went on the defense in conversation with a number of local news stations Friday and emphasized that he is getting on just fine with both the mayor and the city's board of education.
"I went before them last night talking about the work we are doing," Brizard told ABC Chicago. "We have a terrific relationship, working very hard. We have done tremendous work this year."
"In 27 years of education, I have always been successful," he added to CBS Chicago.
On Thursday, the teachers union announced that their strike is set to begin Monday, Sept. 10, the earliest possible day union members could have chosen to stage a walkout.
CTU President Karen Lewis on Thursday blamed CPS for dragging out ongoing contract negotiations. The union has been involved in a months-long standoff with the city over pay, class size and the longer school day.
"We have said from the beginning, we’re tired of being bullied, belittled and betrayed," Lewis said.
Earlier Thursday, CPS announced a contingency plan for a strike that they have dubbed "Children First." The program will entail keeping 145 of the city's schools open for half days -- from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The union could yet come to an agreement with the city before a walkout begins, and negotiations are expected to continue in the days ahead. Chicago teachers last staged a walkout in 1987.