Contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools will enter a new phase today. CTU will make an announcement to the press at 6 p.m. as to whether they accept or reject the findings of arbitrator Edwin Benn, which were publicly released today. The announcement will follow a 4:30 p.m. meeting of CTU's House of Delegates.
The Board of Education, meanwhile, will hold a closed door meeting at 4 p.m. on the fact finder's report.
CPS is expected to reject the report, which reportedly calls for teacher raises next year of 15 percent to 20 percent, largely due to CPS's implementation of a seven-hour school day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appoints the Board of Education, said yesterday that the report is "not tethered to reality," citing the school district's budget deficit.
If either side rejects the report, negotiations resume. If talks break down, CTU may call for a strike 30 days from the report's rejection. Both sides are also working against an August 13 deadline, when 1/3 of the district's students are scheduled to start the 2012-13 school year.
Check back in tonight with Progress Illinois for more on this story.
UPDATE 1 (5:16 p.m.): The six-person Chicago Board of Education has voted unanimously against the fact finder's report. The board took the vote without public comment or discussion. CTU members and some elected officials, including Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) attended the meeting, with the alderman, who believes teachers should get a raise, saying "I’m here to implore both sides to try to work this out for the betterment of the kids. That’s what it’s all about."
Meanwhile, school officials say the fact finder's recommendations, which include a 15 percent to 18 percent raise in the first year of the four-year contract, are non-negotiable.
“There is no way in the world that I can pay $330 million that will mean
the laying off of a lot of teachers and the cutting of programs,’’
Brizard reportedly said earlier today.
Check back later this evening with Progress Illinois for more on this developing story.
UPDATE 2 (6:28 p.m.): CTU's House of Delegates has also unanimously voted against the fact finder's recommendations. The union cited ongoing concerns with classroom and curriculum quality, like large class sizes and the shortage of art, physical education, and foreign language courses in schools, as the reasoning behind their vote. Check back for more on this story.