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!
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.
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:
- State your support for HB2275 or HB2267.
- 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.
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.
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.
Every day, we protect the future of our city. Now it’s time to make our legislators protect our futures. The House could vote on Senate Bill 512, legislation that would diminish your hard-earned pension benefits. Details about this dangerous bill are slowly beginning to emerge in the media, and the threat is very real. PLEASE ACT NOW!
UPDATE—The next time that SB 512 is scheduled to be heard is Tuesday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m.
Even if you have contacted your lawmakers previously about pensions, it is critical that you make your voice heard about Senate Bill 512. This bill could be passed with as little as one vote. Your call could save your pension and the pensions of your CTU Sisters and Brothers.
Here’s what you must do NOW to stop this bill:
- E-mail lawmakers using a pre-written message on the IFT website: www.ift-aft.org.
- Call 888-412-6570 to be immediately connected to your lawmakers by phone.
- Sign up for text alerts at www.weareoneillinois.org.
- “Like” the CTU Facebook page to receive daily updates about pension action in Springfield.
- Share this message with your coworkers, friends, community members and family and ask them to contact their lawmakers, too.
If this legislation passes it will likely offer three choices for participation in the plans going forward (all benefits earned to date would be unaffected):
Option 1: Stay in the current tier 1 plan but pay 50% or more in contributions.
Option 2: Go into a tier 2 plan for new hires that puts retirement age at 67, lowers benefits and decimates annual Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA), or
Option 3: Go into a 401k defined contribution plan that freezes current pension credits and relies on the volatile stock market.
You dedicated yourself to improving the quality of life and providing a brighter future for all. In return, the state promised to provide you with a modest pension after a lifetime of public service.
You have faithfully paid into the pension system and kept your promise to serve. But now some lawmakers in Springfield want to break their promise. They are attacking your hard-earned pension and trying to diminish your benefits, even though legal experts have called it unconstitutional.
We can win this fight, but we need your help! Please contact your lawmakers now to insist they vote “NO” on SB 512, the pension benefit reduction legislation. Then urge your co-workers, family, friends and neighbors to do the same.
Your hard-earned pension benefits are on the line. There is no time to waste. ACT NOW!
2019 General Session Legislative Agenda
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
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
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.