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Please share your school’s employee handbook with your field rep and bring anything you have questions about to their attention. Keep in mind, as CPS acknowledges in the preface to these handbooks, “The school employee handbook is not a contract of employment or a collective bargaining agreement and should not be treated as one. Unlike a contract or a collective bargaining agreement, an employee handbook may be changed at any time and is not enforceable like a contract or collective bargaining agreement. Employee rights are contained in collective bargaining agreements or in rules and policies adopted by the Chicago Board of Education. No rights are created for employees in the school employee handbook.”

While there may be other issues that present themselves, two jump out as being in conflict with our contract. One is the prohibition on taking personal business (PB) days on testing, PD and other “special” days, and the prohibition on using PB days before and after winter, spring and Thanksgiving breaks. There is no limit in the contract on which days can be used, and the only basis a principal has for denial of a PB day is that so many people have already scheduled them, that class coverage will not be achievable. Also, some handbooks suggest that you tell administration the nature of your personal business, but this is none of their business (no pun intended). It is personal and you should not be asked to share your personal business.

The second issue pertains to the dress code. While professional attire is mandated in Board of Ed policy, the definition of such clothing is, at least in some handbooks, extremely restrictive. There are schools that are prohibiting sweats and gym shoes without an exception for PE teachers, and attempting to mandate dress shirts. We urge your PPC to sit down with your principal and try to work out a mutually acceptable solution. If you are unable to resolve problems, contact your field rep for assistance.