The Chicago Teachers Union has rejected the Chicago Public Schools' offer of a 2 percent pay increase for an extended school day. CTU President Karen Lewis said the following in a statement:
Yes, we fully support a better, smarter school day for our children but teachers are now being asked to work 29 percent longer for only a 2 percent pay increase. To that we say thanks but no thanks. For a teacher earning $57,000 a year the increase would mean a mere $3.41 an hour, less than minimum wage. Teachers on average already work 21 hours more than they are paid for; we grade papers, create lesson plans, confer with parents and counsel our students. There will be little time for us to do any of that.
Rather than negotiating through the press and setting up political committees, CPS needs to sit down with teachers and paraprofessionals who are in our schools every day and come up with a better plan. Other school districts have found ways to lengthen the school days by good planning, and we welcome doing that as an interim step while we negotiate.
The union also says CPS has not laid out plans for how it will fund the resources needed for a longer school day and are encouraging teachers at three schools experimenting with the concept to reject the plans to do so.
“Do not sign any contract waivers that will change the length of your school day,” Lewis said. “If you give away your rights now this will guarantee you have none later.”