We head to the bargaining table with CPS this week! Our first bargaining sessions are this Monday and Tuesday, so keep an eye out for updates.

CTU rolled out our union’s ambitious package of contract proposals last week. As we get ready to bargain for these transformative proposals, including the expansion of sustainable community schools, affordable housing, more robust dual language studies opportunities for our students, fully funded special education services, and so much more, we will hold regular sessions with CPS with our smaller table team and our Big Bargaining Team, with additional public bargaining sessions.

Most of us remember past contract negotiations in 2012, 2016, and 2019. They weren’t just contract campaigns, they were battles for the schools our students deserve and the role we, as teachers, PSRPs, and parents, would have in that mission. We were forced to strike and fight to protect our schools, students, jobs, and safety, ultimately winning with the support of parents and community allies on our side.

This time, CTU’s contract demands are aligned with the Mayor’s education transition report: making CPS a Sustainable Community School district, with a librarian and nurse in every school, and providing housing for all, just to name a few examples.

Many members have shared with us how they already feel our bargaining can be different this time around: a negotiation that doesn’t start with management and the mayor just saying “No,” but rather with “How might we?” Together, we are going to push hard for our proposals and vision for the district. The real question is only: how shall we fund this transformation for Chicago Public Schools?

CTU Shows Up At Community Board of Education Meeting

ABOVE: Thursday’s Board of Education meeting at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where CTU Recording Secretary Christel Williams called for more transparency as CPS phases out Student-Based Budgeting.

CTU was among the early advocates calling for the end to Student-Based Budgeting because, for years, CTU teachers and paraprofessionals witnessed how devastating budget cuts negatively impacted them and our neighborhood schools, with particular harm to Black and Brown students. The Student-Based Budgeting (SBB) formula resulted in widespread student disparities. Schools most in need of support were starved of resources and principals were forced to choose between retaining veteran educators or purchasing supplies, fostering a “Hunger Games” mentality among schools in our city.

From the start, CTU called for an end to SBB, part of our work to end the racial disparities harming Chicago’s student body. In fact, as CPS leadership rolled out school-level budgets to principals this month, it became clear that the centrally-funded “foundation positions” included in the new formula severely under-valued the importance of teacher assistants and other PSRPs. Additionally, schools were not “held harmless” from cuts during this major transition in budgeting systems (as the state did for school districts during their recent change in funding formulas).

CPS’s proposed budget grossly undercuts the progress made with the newly created foundation positions by introducing new cuts and structural problems. CTU will not stand by and allow CPS to steal from one underfunded school to give to another school that has been starved even worse.

Learn more about how the proposed CPS Budget will impact your school and why it matters. Read the slides here created by our Research Department for last week’s member webinar to understand why we are telling CPS CEO Pedro Martinez: “this isn’t it!”

Northside College Prep is CTU Strong!

A few dozen people with fists raised in a classroom, including CTU leadership Stacy Davis Gates and Jackson Potter.

ABOVE: Northside College Prep members with President Stacy Davis Gates and Vice President Jackson Potter.

This week Northside College Prep members stood with their union during a visit from President Stacy Davis Gates and Vice President Jackson Potter. We need full funding for all schools of every kind.

Tuesday, May 15: Lawmakers in Springfield need to hear from CTU members!

CTU is heading to Springfield again on May 15th to lobby lawmakers to fund Chicago schools. We need the state to fund CPS as we negotiate for the schools our students deserve. Sign up to join us here.

Members should be prepared to take a personal business or zero day to attend- a difficult sacrifice to make, but a step that can help protect us and our students from the sacrifices that will be forced on our schools if Springfield refuses to adequately fund education!

Activate Your CAT Team: Circulate the CTU Contract Commitment Petition!

As bargaining gets underway, CTU members are signing on to show our solidarity behind our contract proposals, our fight for funding & the elected school board races in November! Delegates & CAT members are circulating this pledge in their buildings. Sign the pledge for the contract and school board that our students deserve! If you want to sign on but haven’t seen the pledge in your school yet, contact organizing@ctulocal1.org