Grievance win at Corliss High School reiterates 70/30 ratio rule

A violation of Article 21-19, the 70/30 ratio rule, occurred at Corliss HS in school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. A member at Corliss was assigned three classes that exceeded 30 percent of students with IEPs during this time period. The member filed a grievance and followed through to arbitration. He also contacted the ISBE Monitor and kept records of the violations and responses from the Corliss administration.

The arbitrator found in the teacher’s favor and determined that the board must take the necessary steps to ensure Corliss complies with Article 21-19 in the future. Also, the arbitrator, as well as ISBE, determined that an “unusually high” SpEd population is not a valid reason to violate Article 21-19.

The arbitrator, and again ISBE, determined that just because there is an ISBE procedure for granting deviations from 70/30, it is not a valid reason to violate Article 21-19. The arbitrator found that Article 21-19 is “clear and mandatory” and does not state any exceptions to its application. 

The Board acknowledged that they are under an ISBE directive dated Oct. 28, 2022, to comply with the 70/30 ratio in the future due to this member’s ISBE complaint in December 2021. This victory also calls out the need for compensatory services when student services are not met.

Calling Sped members: the CTU Sped Committee needs you

Our 2019 strike brought historic wins for special ed educators and students, but we must continue to fight for the services we need. This year, the CTU Special Education Committee will be formulating our bargaining proposals for the next contract, and we need your voice.

Some of the issues our committee will be addressing this year include: 

  • Training and resources funding for special education per Article 21-15.
  • Workload Reduction Funds and equitable distribution.
  • Class size reduction.
  • Class coverage list made at the beginning of the school year and posted.
  • Policy for substitute coverage in co-taught classes.
  • Caseload development.
  • Case management.

Our union has several ways that members can engage with us and help improve the working conditions for special ed teachers and the learning conditions for our students:   

Our union will continue to work closely with parents and guardians as well as special education advocacy and legal groups, organizing ourselves to best advocate for the services our students need and the working conditions we as school staff require to do our jobs.

But we are always stronger together. Get involved, and help us improve special education for our students and their educators. 

Good news: CTU, parents, activists to have say in choosing new ODLSS chief

Just a week after the CTU House of Delegates called for the ouster of ODLSS chief Stephanie Jones, she was out. Now, our union will join special ed parents and activists on a committee to select the next head of special education in CPS. 

CTU Field Rep Tanesha Rawls and CTU Organizer Jim Cavalerro are on the committee along with Barb Cohen, a special education parent advocate and policy analyst at the Legal Council for Health Justice who has joined our team to offer her expertise and perspective on special education policies.

Rawls said the union wants the next head of the department to have experience in special education and be someone who will take into consideration all stakeholders.

“Our members are hoping for authentic collaboration and transparency from the new chief of ODLSS,” she said.