Prior to his appointment at the District’s CEO, Vallas was the Chicago City Budget Director (1990-1995) and CEO of Chicago Public Schools (1995-2001). He also was a Democratic candidate for the 2002 Illinois Governor’s race but was defeated in the primary.
Accomplishments and challenges in Chicago:
Vallas is credited with pulling the Chicago Public Schools out of a $150 million deficit and maintaining a balanced budget throughout his term as CEO. He also launched a $2.65 billion capital campaign that included repairs to older buildings and the construction of 76 new school buildings. In addition to these financial and operations changes, Vallas established extensive after school and summer reading programs and strictly enforced academic promotion requirements.
Vallas’s critics in Chicago contended that his reliance on high-stakes tests as a primary measure for promotion was harmful to some students, that he exerted too much control over local school decisions, and that he did not work well with community groups.
In a five-year contract, Vallas receives an annual salary of $225,000, with raises tied to those in the teachers’ contract. In addition, he is eligible for an annual performance bonus of 10% of his salary. If he completes three years on the job, he will receive an additional $100,000 for each year of the contract he completes.
Vallas’s Philadelphia team:
Vallas’s new management team is a combination of District insiders and individuals he worked with in Chicago. Here are some key members of the new leadership:
Chief Academic Officer Ed Williams, former area academic officer for the North Central academic area
Chief Financial Officer Michael Harris, former Chicago city budget director
Chief Operations Officer Karen Burke, former deputy chief operations officer of Chicago Public Schools
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Creg Williams, former chief officer of education-to-careers in Chicago Public Schools, responsible for overseeing high schools
Deputy Chief Academic Officer Ellen Savitz, former principal of High School for Creative and Performing Arts, responsible for supervising charter schools, conversion of schools, and opening of new schools
Chief of Staff Natalye Paquin, former chief purchasing officer for Chicago Public Schools