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Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard silent on school raises

Updated: August 3, 2011 5:07PM

New Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard wouldn’t say Tuesday if teachers or principals will get raises next school year, and contended his new $250,000 base salary doesn’t really constitute a raise either.

Although Brizard’s base salary is $20,000 more than predecessor Schools CEO Ron Huberman got, compared to his last job, “I’m not getting a raise,’’ the new schools CEO said.

As superintendent of Rochester, N.Y., schools, Brizard said, his $235,000 base salary actually amounted to about $243,000 with his $600-a-month “car allowance’’ and “a lot of other things,” such as a $250,000 life insurance policy. On May 25, outgoing Chicago School Board members officially elected him head of a district with 11 times more kids than Rochester, he noted.

The Sun-Times reported last week that Brizard’s contract also is expected to contain “performance’’ elements that could reap him bonuses based on student performance and other indicators. Such an element would allow him to “lead by example,’’ Brizard said. Mayor Emanuel has endorsed linking teacher and principal pay to performance.

Incoming Chicago School Board member Jesse Ruiz, who recently resigned as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Tuesday called Brizard’s base salary “reasonable’’ and “what labor markets dictate.”

New School Board members are tentatively set to be seated for the first time next Tuesday and to vote on a contract Brizard has been negotiating for weeks, officials said. Also that day, they are expected to decide if the cash-strapped system, which has been trying to whittle down a $720 million deficit since Brizard walked in the door, can afford a negotiated four percent teacher raise worth $80 million.

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