Most of you have probably seen the recent CPS communication with its “SY2022-2023 Academic Calendar Stakeholder Feedback Survey.” Management sent the survey to the Union bargaining team late Wednesday, then to rank-and-file members and parents the next morning.

In assessing the district’s proposed plan, let’s remember one thing: With the repeal of Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, CPS is now legally required to bargain with our union over changes to the academic calendar. It is customary for districts and unions around the state to bargain collaboratively in setting dates for school calendars, and the situation should be the same here in Chicago.

Based on our very preliminary analysis, it seems that the district’s two calendar proposals show no loss of paid days. There is still a total of 190 classroom/PD days, 10 vacation days and eight holidays for a total of 208 days in the academic calendar.

Still, we formally communicated to CPS today that we want to start bargaining immediately over its efforts to modify the academic calendar — just as school officials across the state routinely bargain these terms with their unions. This could be a great opportunity for collaboration, compromise and good faith negotiations, and a chance for our union and the district to reset our bargaining relationship to better serve our students and school communities.

If you fill out the survey, remind CPS in the comment box that it needs to build that muscle of cooperation and bargain in good faith with us over dates for the 2022-2023 school year. Also, if you think there should be a calendar option other than what has been presented so far, please say so.

As we shared with CPS today, we hope and expect to have productive bargaining and a mutually beneficial outcome on dates for the upcoming school year. We know, for example, that combining elementary and high school report card pickups into one day makes an already hard-to-schedule effort for parent-educators even more impossible. So the Union will be surveying members ourselves in the coming days about calendar needs to help inform our work at the bargaining table.