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Every day, questions come up for which you need a quick answer. But as teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians, we barely have time to go to the restroom, much less make a phone call or check a website! This handy-dandy pamphlet should answer your most common questions, saving you time and worry. The contract articles and best contact people are included for reference and further inquiry. (An asterisk denotes a change or new provision in the 2015-19 Agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education.)

1-12 Professional Problems Committees (PPC) shall discuss school operations, contract issues and any new Board of Education instructional programs or initiatives.

4-9 Late Arrival or Early Departure: More than one-fourth and less than three-fourths is considered one half day, and three-fourths or more of the regular working day is considered a full day.

*5-1 Lunch and prep scheduling: Teachers’ lunch is not scheduled before the first student lunch period and not after the last student lunch period; no more than 296 minutes of instruction, 15 minutes of non-classroom supervision and 60 minutes of continuous preparation time per day; and four days of continuous duty-free preparation time self-directed each week, with one day each week principal-directed.

*5-10 Professional Development Activities: The PPLC (Professional Personnel Leadership Committee), or in its absence the PPC, shall develop and present recommendations to the principal and the Local School Council on professional development.

7-6 Supply Money: the Board shall reimburse teachers, counselors, clinicians and speech-language para-educators up to $250 for instructional supplies and materials, classroom library books and therapeutic materials purchased by them for student instruction and support. Principals and head administrators shall approve reimbursements in accordance with the procedures developed by Board, and paid by the end of the semester in which the receipts were submitted.

13-3 Activity Calendars: Each school shall develop a schedule of activities for the first five months, other than class field trips, no later than September 30 and for the second five months no later than February 1.

*21-14 Individualized Education Program meetings: may be scheduled before, during or after the school day. Bargaining unit employees required to attend such meetings before or after the school day shall be paid their regular instructional hourly rates of pay.

21-16 Principals may use Cadre substitute teachers to provide release time to special education teachers for the purpose of completing Individualized Education Programs.

25-2 Vacation and Holidays: Teachers and PSRPs on a 208-paid day academic calendar will be scheduled for 190 work days (including 10 professional development days if applicable), 10 paid vacation days and eight paid holidays.

26-1 Personal Days: On July 1, the Board shall award active full-time employees three paid personal days for use during the fiscal year to attend to the employee’s personal business (PB). Personal days unused upon separation from employment or on June 30 of each fiscal year shall be forfeited.

26-2 Prorated Days for New Employees: Employees who are staffed after Sept. 30will have their PB days prorated for the first year.

26-3 Employees may use personal days on three successive days. There is no prohibition on use of PB days before or after a holiday.

27-4 Sick Days: Teachers shall report their anticipated absences to the substitute center as early as possible. Teachers shall also report their anticipated absences to the school no later than their reporting time. If the teachers cannot report because the telephone lines are busy or similar such occurrences, the teachers shall report as soon as possible. (Note: A doctor’s note is not required until the employee has taken four consecutive sick days.)

27-5 Missed Preps: Whenever a teacher’s duty-free professional preparation period is canceled, the principal shall schedule a make-up duty-free professional preparation period for that teacher by the end of the next academic quarter, or by the last day of teacher attendance that school year. If cancelled self-directed preparation periods are not made up in accordance with this Article, they shall be considered lost. The Board shall pay the teacher for the lost preparation period at his/her regular hourly rate.

32-1 Benefits: The Board shall provide the applicable coverage for teachers and other bargaining unit employees granted a leave for illness in the family which restricts the duration of said leave to five school months without extension. The Board shall provide the applicable coverage for teachers and other bargaining unit employees granted a Parental Leave of Absence for a maximum of five calendar months. The Board shall provide medical, prescription drug, mental health, dental and vision benefits, flexible spending accounts, life and personal accident insurance and a savings and retirement program.

35-4 Transfer Period: Teachers may transfer effective the second semester of the school year without the consent of their current principal only when the Talent Office receives the administrative transfer request signed by the receiving principal between 75 and 30 calendar days prior to the conclusion of the first semester of the school year.

36-11 Hourly Rate: Any bargaining unit employee employed in an after-school program in a non-instructional capacity shall be compensated at the rate of $39.90 for the 2017-2018 school year. Any bargaining unit employee employed in an after-school program in an instructional capacity shall be compensated at the rate of $46.46 for the 2017-2018 school year.

36-14 Over Average Salary Makeup: The Board shall augment school budgets at those schools with higher-than-average teacher salaries. On March 1 of each year, the Board shall calculate the district-wide average cost of all staffed teacher positions that are funded with student-based budgeting (SBB) or its equivalent, and then calculate the average cost of staffed SBB teachers for each school. If this average cost at any school exceeds the district-wide average, the school will receive a teacher salary adjustment.

37-3 Sick Day Bank: Sick days awarded on and after July 1, 2012, that remain unused at the end of the fiscal year may be rolled over for future use up to a maximum of 40 days and may be used: as sick days or for purposes of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act; to supplement the short-term disability pay in days 31 through 90 to reach 100 percent income during such period; or for pension service credit upon retirement. Sick days accumulated under this Section shall be utilized prior to sick days in the “retained sick day bank.” Bargaining unit employees shall retain any bank of unused sick days that the bargaining unit employee accumulated prior to July 1, 2012, in a “retained sick day bank.” Employees may use days from their retained sick day bank for the purposes set forth in Article 37-3. Up to 325 retained sick days earned from Board employment prior to July 1, 2012, and left unused in the retained sick day bank at the employee’s resignation, retirement or death shall be paid out at the employee’s rate of pay at the time of the employee’s separation.

37-6 Sick Day Donation: Employees may donate up to 10 sick days from their sick day banks to another employee who is suffering from a serious medical condition and who is on an approved leave of absence. An employee receiving a donation of sick days may not receive more than 45 days of sick leave and may only receive a donation once during his or her employment with the Board.

*39-2 Evaluation: Each teacher shall be evaluated annually or biennially as “excellent,” “proficient,” “developing” (state law equivalent is “need improvement”) or “unsatisfactory” by a qualified evaluator in accordance with this Article and the teacher evaluation plan. Tenured teachers who are rated in the lower half of developing (a score of 210 to 250) in two consecutive ratings periods shall be rated unsatisfactory, unless in the second year the teacher’s professional practice score is proficient or better.

40-4 Teaching Schedule: Where administratively possible, no teacher shall have more than three consecutive teaching periods.

40-8 Grade Level Change: In the event a teacher is programmed to teach a grade level or content area that he or she has not taught in the last four school years, upon request of the teacher, the principal shall explain why the change was made and work with the teacher to develop a relevant professional development plan.

*44-30 Lesson Planning: Principals and/or network administrators shall not require that teachers submit separate unit and lesson plans. Special education teachers who are working in a co-teaching setting or not providing direct instruction shall supplement the general education teacher’s unit or lesson plan, and shall not be required to submit a separate unit or lesson plan.

*44-33 Gradebook: Teachers shall determine the number, type, weighting and frequency of student assignments and tests or other assessments that are used to determine individual course grades.

Hopefully, this will make your teaching life just a bit easier. If you have questions, email your CTU field representative.

Kathe Myers is a teacher at Richardson Elementary and former CTU delegate.