Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says if the city were to follow a fact finder's recommendation and give teachers a pay raise of well over 14 percent it would mean firing 4,000 of them and lead to more crowded classrooms.
The mayor was reacting Tuesday to a report by an independent fact finder that concluded it would not be fair to expect teachers to work a far longer school day without a hefty pay raise.
Emanuel said the conclusions were not "fiscally or educationally tethered to reality."
The mayor, who has pushed for a longer school day, has said that the desperate financial straits of the school system make a big raise impossible.
CTU President Karen Lewis said that despite Emanuel's reaction, he will have to back down on either the longer days or the raise because he won't be able to have both.
In June nearly 90 percent of teachers in the union authorized a strike against long hours and low wages, exceeding the 75 percent required by a state law backed by Emanuel.
Chigao teachers could strike next month if an agreement is not reached between CPS and the union.