Teachers union contact demands could cost $2.5 billion, CPS CEO says

Updated 10/11/2019 5:32 PM

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said Friday she remains "hopelessly optimistic" a teachers strike can be avoided, but the worst could happen if the Chicago Teachers Union insists on using contract talks to "solve all of the problems in Chicago."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has offered the teachers a 16% pay raise over five years to match the proposal by an independent fact-finder. She also offered to build into the school budget, the first phase of a five-year plan to add more support personnel.


The CTU won't agree to the money until it gets the other items on what Jackson calls its "social justice bargaining" agenda.

That includes everything from affordable housing and a dramatic increase in "community schools" to enforceable caps on class size, mandatory hiring of support personnel written into the contract and more teacher preparation time with potential to shorten the elementary school day.

CTU won't accept a buzzer-beater deal like in 2016, Sharkey says

On Friday, Jackson pegged the cost of the union's demands at $2.5 billion.

That's a cost Jackson claimed CPS can't afford, even though the school system is in far better financial shape than it was in 2012, thanks to the avalanche of state funding secured by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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