Spotlight Politics: Lightfoot Leans on Springfield as Chicago Teachers Ready to Strike

Our politics team of Amanda Vinicky and Carol Marin discuss a possible teachers strike and more in this week’s Spotlight Politics.

Chicago students returned to their classrooms this week, but there are early signs they could be back on break come early October.

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Chicago Teachers Union leaders voted Wednesday during their first delegates meeting of the year to take another vote later this month that would authorize a strike.

“Every one of our delegates voted today to send a clear signal to CPS and the Mayor that what’s been offered to date isn’t good enough,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said in a press release. “Contrary to the mayor’s statement yesterday, our concerns are not rhetoric.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office did not immediately return a request for comment, but she has previously said she would work to prevent a strike like that which came under the administration of her predecessor, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in 2012.

Coming to a deal with CTU, which endorsed Lightfoot’s mayoral rival Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, is just one of the daunting challenges facing Lightfoot, who last week – in a highly touted, prime-time speech – shared that the city faces a $838 million budget hole.

Lightfoot is relying on help from Springfield to close that gab, but despite Democrats holding control of the governor’s office and both legislative chambers, she is likely to have a tough time getting help given the state’s own fiscal pressures – and politicians’ own political challenges.

Meanwhile, a one-time GOP darling is free to try for a political comeback, though there is no indication that former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, who hails from Peoria, will do so. Schock finalized a deal Wednesday with prosecutors that clears him of all charges. He was accused of using campaign money to fund a lavish lifestyle – similar to what landed another former Illinois Congressman, Chicago Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr., in prison.

Follow us on Twitter: @wttw @AmandaVinicky @CarolMarin

Related stories:

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Identifies Chicago’s Massive Budget Shortfall

Lightfoot Outlines $838M Budget Deficit in ‘State of the City’ Address

CTU Rejects Fact-Finder’s Report, Moves Closer to Teachers Strike

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