The Chicago Board of Education unanimously voted to reject an independent fact-finder's report recommending 35 percent raises for Chicago's teachers over the next four years.
Following a brief, 40-minute closed session at Chicago Public Schools headquarters, the board voted 6-0 to reject the report, saying it "did not have the resources" to increase teacher raises by that much.
The Chicago Teachers Union is also expected to reject the non-binding recommendations of an independent arbitrator whose report was released to both sides Wednesday.
CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said he was hoping the report would help the two sides find some middle ground in negotiations. But he says what came back was clearly a disappointment.
The arbitrator's report calls for teachers to get a huge raise, a little more than 35 percent over the next four years -- mainly because of the longer school day that begins in the fall.
But CPS officials say that will push the school district deeper in debt. CPS already faces a $665 million deficit and claims the raises in the first year alone would cost the district $330 million and force it to lay off about 4,000 teachers.
The report also chastises the school board for extending the length of the school day and the school year while it faces serious financial trouble, saying board members should have realized teachers would have to be fairly compensated for working more hours.
The teachers union also comes under fire in the report for not acknowledging how well it made out in its last contract, getting 19 to 46 percent increases over five years at a time when the economy was tanking.
The arbitrator says if both sides don't do more to compromise, a strike is inevitable.
The CTU has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday evening to discuss it. But CTU president Karen Lewis has already told the Sun-Times that Mayor Emanuel will have to compromise if he wants to avoid a teacher strike which she has the authorization to call in 30 days.