‘Tremendous victories’: Details of the teachers contract
By Lauren FitzPatrick Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org September 19, 2012 7:26AM
Rhubab, wear 'on strike' sign with his owner, striking teacher Mary O'Keeffe at Chicago Board of Education in support of striking teachers, Tuesday, September 18, 2012. l John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:17AM
The tentative agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education has been about a year in the making.
Heated negotiations led to the city’s first teacher strike in 25 years. Tuesday evening, CTU delegates voted to suspend the strike on its seventh day, allowing 350,000 CPS students to return to class Wednesday. Union members still have to ratify the contract.
“We have tremendous victories in this contract,” the CTU said in a contract summary it sent to delegates, “however, it is by no means perfect.”
Here’s what’s in it.
$295 million over four years, or $74 million per year. 2007 contract cost $645 million over five years, or $129 million per year.
Three years, with an optional fourth year. CPS originally sought five-year contract. CTU wanted two years.
3 percent in year one. 2 percent in years two and three. 3 percent if union approves fourth year. No merit pay. Board originally offered a one-time 2 percent raise. Preserves additional raises for extra years of service and education.
Freeze on health care premiums and copays for members in exchange for participating in a wellness program. Members pay $600 per year for each family member who opts out of the Wellness Program. There is an exception for smokers who won’t have to pay.
Existing sick days may be cashed out at retirement. Up to 40 future unused sick days are pensionable and may be banked for short term disability or maternity, not retirement. New short term disability and maternity benefits pay 100% up to 30 days; 80% next 30 days; 60% for third 30 days.
Time in school
7 hours of elementary students; 71/2 for high school students four days a week and shortened fifth day. 170-day school year expanded to 180 days.
Year-round and traditional school calendars merged into one, district wide. Creates a committee of union and board members to work out details of what new calendar will look like.
Over 600 new full and part-time positions to staff longer school day in subjects such as art, music and PE.
“No stakes” for tenured teachers during the first year. Establishes appeals process for bad ratings. Tops out 70 percent based on teacher practice; 30 percent on student growth in test scores. If union opts to keep contract for fourth year, student growth will count for 35 percent, the district says.
The district’s policy on class size remains in the contract. And a new “workload” committee gets $500,000 to address understaffing among clinicians, counselors and special education staffers.
Layoffs and recall
12-week payout or 40 weeks in the reassignment pool, half at regular pay, half at cadre substitute pay. Teachers displaced by a school closing who are highly rated can follow their students to their new school if there is an opening. Principals must interview any well-rated applicant from a closed school.
Also: $250 reimbursement for teachers who buy supplies. Text books guaranteed in schools by first day of class. Anti-bullying clause added for first time to prohibit principals from “abusive and demeaning conduct.”