CPS to Vote Wednesday on New Budget

The vote comes as teacher contract talks continue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis

    As teachers union contract talks continue and the Sept. 4 school year looms, the Chicago Public Schools board is expected to vote Wednesday on a new budget.

    The proposed $5.7 billion budget includes a 2 percent raise that already was offered to teachers and rejected by the union. The CTU wants a 25 percent raise over two years. A spending plan must be in place by the end of the month.

    The board also is expected to vote on a contingency plan to keep students involved in case teachers decide to strike. It's not clear what the plan looks like or who would supervise the students but could include activities at the park district.

    The union said it wants CPS to settle the contract instead of creating contingency plans. Teachers have negotiated since last year and have been without a contract for almost two months.

    Though the two sides reached an interim agreement on the longer school day, other issues remain, including class size, a new evaluation process requiring 40 percent of teacher reviews be based on students’ performance, health benefits and compensation for working longer days.

    The CTU hasn't issued the required 10-day strike notice but began printing posters last week in preparation for a possible strike and held informational pickets all week at Track E schools. They plan to picket Wednesday outside the Board of Education.

    CTU president Karen Lewis said the picket is necessary because discussions with the Board are moving slowly.

    “They have not properly implemented the interim agreement on the longer school day at Track E schools and we have little confidence they will be able to do this system wide," Lewis said in a statement. "We are still concerned about the quality of the day and the fact that despite all of the violence in this city, the District only has 370 social workers for over 400,000 students."

    The school year for most students begins Sept. 4.