4:30 p.m. TODAY, Thurs., July 11: press conference/bargaining update
CTU headquarters, 1901 W. Carroll, Chicago

Less than eight weeks before students return to school, CPS and CTU remain far apart on equity demands for students and schools, as CPS stalls in investing $1 billion in new revenue into classroom needs.

CHICAGO—In barely eight weeks, Chicago Public School students are scheduled to return to classrooms—while the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS remain far apart in bargaining for a new contract. Both parties negotiated this afternoon, with the union’s bargaining team holding out some hope that today CPS would commit to meaningful progress on realizing the equity promises of the mayor who controls the school district.

Those hopes were dashed in bargaining today—even as the CTU submitted extensive documentation to a neutral fact-finder that shows that the district has more than a billion dollars in annual new revenue that could go far in funding real equity for students and schools. The union will make that report available today.

CTU teachers, PSRPs and clinicians on the union’s bargaining team will hold a press conference at 4:30 PM TODAY, Thursday, July 11 at CTU headquarters, 1901 W. Carroll Ave., to provide an update on bargaining and outline a path forward from CPS’ deficient ‘offers’.

For eight years, teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff sacrificed wages and working conditions under the tenure of a mayor intent on austerity and privatization, the worst national fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, and the rule of the most reactionary governor in the state’s history. But rank and file CTU members and their allies worked with state legislators to reform Illinois’ abysmal public education funding formula. Today, CPS is receiving about a billion additional dollars per year into its coffers—fiscal relief that CPS itself admits has moved the district to a position of real financial stability.

Yet years of deep cuts remain baked into neighborhood public schools—and CPS continues to insist on providing a paltry 5% of annual new revenue into remedying the pay freezes, furloughs and deep funding cuts that have hammered educators’ wages and working conditions since 2011. In today’s bargaining session, CPS negotiators—the same team that previous Mayor Rahm Emanuel used—offered no meaningful new proposals on addressing ballooning class sizes, dire shortages of nurses, social workers and other critical clinical and frontline staff, and desperate resource needs in neighborhood public schools. Instead, CPS has continued to propose clawing back workers rights and ditching language in the expired contract that would protect children like special education students, who saw their services gutted under the previous regime.

The union’s report to the neutral fact-finder documents in acute detail the district’s past and current financial position. The report also documents critical needs that are a legacy of almost a decade of deep budget cuts and failed education policy—and the path forward to use new revenue as a substantial down payment on real equity for school communities.