March 21, 2022: CTU President Jesse Sharkey sent members the following update on bargaining around the proposed BOE school calendar for 2022-23, to be voted on at the board’s March 23 meeting.

Today, CPS released the agenda for this Wednesday’s board of education meeting – including their proposed calendar for the upcoming school year, which would bring back students on August 22 – the earliest start time in recent memory. The board is expected to vote to approve the calendar on Wednesday.

You may recall taking a survey on preferred school year start times. We sent one to you after the board emailed two calendar ‘options’ to parents and educators in February and asked them to make a choice. Our survey results showed no strong member consensus between earlier versus later starting dates, with members split between beginning school before or after Labor Day.

Since February, we have been meeting with the board to discuss the calendar and it’s impacts on our school communities. While we continue to bargain impact on changes to the school calendar, there are some updates I’d like to unpack.

First, the proposed calendar increases educators’ professional development time by two days – an increase of 20% over the ten days we are currently allotted for PD.

The board also decided to schedule elementary and high school report card pick-up on the same day. This is a logistical challenge – especially for educator parents – and we are still working to address this challenge.

In addition, we are also in discussions about the distribution of paid and unpaid days, which we think should be distributed differently given the board’s move to make Thanksgiving week a non-school week for students. Those discussions include our proposal to allow members to use personal days to absorb non-pay days, for example on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

You can view the board’s proposed calendar on page 425 of the Wednesday board agenda at this link.

In safety and solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey,
CTU President