Fox Chicago Sunday: Reporter’s Notebook: Karen Lewis - FOX 32 News Chicago

Fox Chicago Sunday: Reporter’s Notebook: Karen Lewis

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

We're coming out of a week that started with members of the City Council expressing their shock at learning at public hearing that Chicago faces a monumental pension funding crisis. Then, we were fed another whopper by the President of the Chicago Teachers Union.

The excellent, non-partisan public school watchdogs at Catalyst reported via Twitter that Ms. Lewis was questioned by reporters in the wake of the scary credit downgrades that hit the Board of Education after it signed an utterly unaffordable contract with her union. It calls for an average pay raise of about 17%, a figure that may seem astounding to most local taxpayers. Ms. Lewis, though, told reporters not to worry. There's no way, she said, that Mayor Emanuel and the public schools would ever have signed off on a deal they can't afford. Except that every one of their predecessors did exactly that, staring down the barrel of the same political gun Ms Lewis wielded -- a school shutdown by teachers who, unlike strikers in every other industry, don't risk the loss of one day's pay.

In case you missed it, the new contract says those seven strike days will be made up on previously scheduled off days. And teachers, who work only about 180 days a year, sure have a lot of scheduled off days. Keep it in mind when those huge tax increases start hitting.

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