School starts in less than a month ... maybe. One third of Chicago Public Schools are set to open on August 13. The rest open on September 4. By then, odds are, the only teachers on site will be the ones with picket signs.
The long-awaited compromise proposal was officially released today, though the details of the proposal have been leaking for days. Among the suggestions are a 15-to-18 percent raise in the first year and an average raise of more than 35 percent over four years, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The sides have 15 days to reject or accept the proposal.
CPS has pegged the cost of the raise as about $330 million in the first year. They are already planning on raiding all of their reserve funds to plug a $660 million deficit during the first year and expect to have about a $1 billion deficit per year in upcoming years.
The CEO of CPS, Jean Claude-Brizard, called the recommendation a "disappointment" and stated that the first year raise would mean teacher layoffs, cutting programs, and larger class sizes.
An alternate proposal by the arbitrator was to roll back Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed lengthening of the school day and school year. The main justification for the proposed raises is the increased working hours of the teachers. That's not an option, a district spokeswoman told the Sun-Times.
The district, meanwhile, continues to point to the teachers' relative compensation compared to other major metropolitan areas, (they are already arguably the highest paid in the nation) and the budget woes of the district.
Based on the proposal, and the early responses, a strike seems like a near-certainty at this point. The teachers are still pushing for a 30 percent raise, while the district is only offering a 2 percent raise.
The proposal, which overall seemed to side with the teachers' demands, described the relations between the two sides as "toxic." A record 90 percent of the CTU membership has already authorized a strike.
The soonest a strike could occur under state law would be 30 days after either side rejects the proposal. Assuming that it is rejected today, that means a strike could happen on August 17, four days after the first day of school.
- Consult a Chicago Employment Attorney (FindLaw)
- CPS, CTU to Reject Arbitrator's Report (NBC 5 Chicago)
- Chicago Teachers Union Set to Strike Over Grant, Contract (FindLaw's Chicago Employment Law Blog)
- Strike (FindLaw's LawBrain)