Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis
The Chicago Teaches Union on Friday made its first proposals as negotiations begin a new contract.
The union concedes a longer school day is inevitable next year for all Chicago schools, but said teachers should get a raise to compensate them for the extra time.
"I think the city of Chicago needs to ask that question and answer that for themselves; do you think that's reasonable?" said CTU President Karen Lewis.
It’s been a tough couple of months Lewis at the CTU. Not only has the Lewis run into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wrath, the members have been divided over the mayor’s goal to add ninety minutes to the school day.
Now that contract negotiations are underway, CTU would like to score more points in the public relations war.
In a press briefing Friday, Lewis said she's heard "from many parents who told us they do not hold teachers and paraprofessionals accountable for the budget deficit.”
When asked if receiving a pay raise was a potential strike issue, Lewis said: "We have not had that discussion with our membership.”
She adds: "This is the beginning, you don’t make a decision what you’re going to do at the end now.”
Forty members of the union met with the school board’s negotiating team
The Chicago School Board responded by email, saying the students have been "shortchanged by this system for too long."
"Their academic needs must come first. Our goal is to negotiate a contract that treats our teachers fairly," the board said, adding that any new contract must be "in the best interest of our students, parents and taxpayers during these difficult fiscal times."
The current contract expires June 30.