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Legislative Action

As of January 2019, we live in a post-Rauner age in Springfield. That means that legislation that would typically have faced veto now stands a chance of actually becoming state law – including legislation to improve our rights as educators and improve learning conditions for our students and their families. Visit this page regularly for updates on our work in Springfield!

Legislative Updates


Tell Springfield to help us stop “Student Based” budget cuts and layoffs

Contact your state senator and representative. Tell them to explain the new education funding formula to the Mayor Lightfoot. Chicago Public Schools deserve need-based school funding, not “Student Based” budget cuts and layoffs.

Urge your IL senator to support bargaining rights and an elected, representative school board

Our contract demands for the schools Chicago’s students deserve resonate with parents and communities across the city. But Chicago Public Schools continues to stall and deny students what we need.

HB2275 is the Chicago Teachers Union’s bill to restore Union bargaining rights and bring Chicago in line with every other school district in Illinois. HB2275 would repeal Section 4.5 of the IELRA (the labor law that covers CPS educators), which limits our rights. It would also require CPS to bargain over class size, clinician staffing, special education teachers, paraprofessional staffing and other working conditions over which every other district is required to negotiate.

HB2267 creates an elected school board for Chicago. City residents want one. Newly elected Chicago City Council members want one. And Chicago’s new mayor claims to want one. Senate President John Cullerton, however, has long held the bill up at his friend, Rahm Emanuel’s, behest.

But Rahm is gone, and there are no more excuses. The only way to ensure that community members and parents have a real voice in school governance is to have an elected school board.

The current session in Springfield ends May 31 at 11:59 p.m. Let’s pass the elected school board bill and the repeal of Section 4.5 to ensure bargaining rights, smaller class sizes and more for Chicago’s public schools!

Use the form below to contact your state senator and do two things:

  1. State your support for HB2275 or HB2267.
  2. Ask them to ask Senate President John Cullerton to release the bill for a vote.

The time is now for the restoration of our bargaining rights and bringing democracy back to the decision-making process for Chicago’s public schools. Chicago’s educators, parents, students and school communities have had enough of mayoral control of CPS, and our union deserves the right to bargain for the resources to make equity in education a reality.

Restoring Our Bargaining Rights

HB 2275, a bill to restore CTU’s bargaining rights, passed the House Labor committee and moves to the full House for a vote, potentially as soon as next week. The bill’s chief sponsor is Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D-10). The bill’s counterpart in the Illinois Senate, SB 1732, is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-18).

This legislation would reverse a section of the 1995 Chicago School Reform Act that made it nigh impossible for CTU to negotiate class sizes, special education and clinician staffing, and third party outsourcing with the Chicago Public Schools. That law altered Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to move those topics from “mandatory” bargaining (the Union can strike over it) to “permissive” (can be bargained, but not struck). This has resulted in: some of the largest class sizes in the state; woefully inadequate staffing of school nurses, school social workers and other clinicians, special education teachers, and teacher assistants; and the outsourcing of school operations to Aramark that resulted in filthy schools and dangerous learning conditions. These issues are mandatory subjects of bargaining in every other Illinois school district. This proposed legislation merely puts CPS on an equal playing field.

Call your State Representative and let him/her know you’re a CTU member – and that you would appreciate that person’s support in the House.

Addressing Substitute Teacher Shortage

The CTU is working to address the substitute teacher shortage through two bills – HB 2968, introduced by State Rep. Will Davis (30th District), and SB 1584, introduced by State Senator Omar Aquino (2nd District). The bills increase the number of days a retired teacher can substitute teach without a pension penalty by 20 percent, from 100 days to 120 days – allowing retirees to serve as substitute teachers for a full 24 weeks during the school year without forfeiting their pensions. If passed, the legislation will add a full month of eligible work opportunities to retired teachers. Both bills unanimously passed their respective committees this week: the House Personnel & Pensions Committee, chaired by State Rep. Robert Martwick (19th District), and the Senate Government Accountability & Pensions Committee, chaired by Aquino. Both bills now go to the floor of each chamber for a full vote.

A fall 2018 survey by IARSS – the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools – found that only 3 percent of the state’s school superintendents indicated that they had ‘no problem’ lining up substitute teachers. CPS has chronic substitute shortages, despite the willingness of our retirees, who are some of the district’s most experienced veteran teachers, to undertake this work – because retirees risked their pensions by substituting at our schools for more than 100 days.

2019 General Session Legislative Agenda
In the Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) this calendar year, CTU has worked with friendly elected officials to introduce a number of bills. The proposed legislation aims to improve the governance, funding, working conditions, and operations of the Chicago Public Schools and of charter operators. As each of the bills listed below progresses, the Union will keep members updated and will help every member contact their elected officials to encourage its passage.

Charter Schools

CTU is promoting a legislative package to improve financial accountability and increase parental involvement at charter schools. We’re also promoting a bill to cap charter schools at their current numbers, statewide.

Charter school financial accountability

HB 278 (Welch) / SB 197 (Collins) will prohibit for-profit charter management organizations from running charters in the future and will cap charter CEO pay. In addition, it will create a minimum requirement for spending on core school operations: instruction, instructional materials, building operations, transportation, and support services.

Charter school expansion cap

HB 279 (Guzzardi) establishes a cap on charter school expansion in financially distressed school districts such as CPS.

Charter school Local School Councils

HB 334 (Harper) / SB 188 (Villivalam) would create a mechanism for formal parental involvement in school governance by requiring an LSC at every charter school in Chicago.

Abolish the State Charter School Commission

HB 2100 (Welch) would abolish the state charter school commission that overrides the wishes of local school boards to approve or deny a charter school application.

Working conditions in all schools

End “Section 4.5” bargaining restrictions

HB 2275 (Conyears-Ervin) / SB 1732 (Cunningham) would reverse a section of the 1995 Chicago School Reform Act that made it nigh impossible for CTU to negotiate class sizes, special education and clinician staffing, and third party outsourcing with the Chicago Public Schools. That law altered Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to move those topics from “mandatory” bargaining (the Union can strike over it) to “permissive” (can be bargained, but not struck). This has resulted in: some of the largest class sizes in the state; woefully inadequate staffing of school nurses, school social workers and other clinicians, special education teachers, and teacher assistants; and the outsourcing of school operations to Aramark that resulted in filthy schools and dangerous learning conditions. These issues are mandatory subjects of bargaining in every other Illinois school district. This proposed legislation merely puts CPS on an equal playing field.

Elected School Board

HB 2267 (Martwick) / SB 1587 (Aquino) establishes an elected school board for Chicago.

Teacher Evaluations

SB 1822 (Lightford) and SB 1213 (Lightford): These bills reduce the time, burden, and negative impact of teacher evaluations as carried out under the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) of 2010.

Revenue

HB1589 (Harper) / SB 1956 (Sims) create a new category of eligible expenditures for special education and trauma services in the state’s TIF law and require any TIF surplus in Chicago to be directed fully to CPS.

Substitute Teacher Shortage

SB 1584 (Aquino) / HB 3208 (Ortiz) raise the number of days a retired teacher may work without a pension penalty from 100 to 120.

Click to Contact Your Legislator