Vallas Rules Out Run Against Stroger

Former CPS CEO says there's too much work to do in New Orleans

Paul Vallas will not be coming home to Chicago to run for public office.

After many spending months contemplating switching political parties and running for Cook County Board President in 2010 as a Republican, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO has decided to renew his current contract as chief of the Recovery School District in New Orleans.

Vallas told NBC Chicago and the Chicago  Sun-Times Thursday that he feels strongly that his work to restore public schools in the Katrina-ravished area is not close enough to completion to allow him to leave. Vallas, speaking by phone from New Orleans, acknowledged it's been a hard decision.

"I'm not going to be able to transition out of here and run....I've got too many things pending here," he said.  "Our test scores took off here, but there's more to do. Politics would create too much of a hardship."

This comes as bad news for the Illinois Republican Party, which has been searching for a political star to back in a prominent ballot position.

The Cook County Board seemed an ideal launch pad for GOP hopes, given the embattled administration of Democrat Todd Stroger and the fury his 1 percent sales tax increase has caused in Cook County.  The increase gave the county the dubious distiinction of having the highest sales tax in the nation.

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