School Board Gives New Offer to Union - NBC Chicago

School Board Gives New Offer to Union

Earlier, union president said sides were "miles apart"



    School Board Gives New Offer to Union
    Chicago teachers walk a picket line outside Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Chicago on Monday.

    Following an intense day of negotiations, Chicago's school board president said a new offer was presented to the teachers' union that includes concessions on recalls and evaluations.

    "We have given this to them just now this evening," said David Vitale. "We have said to them [that] we would appreciate a written, comprehensive response either to the proposal or a comprehensive proposal of their own."

    Asked about it the proposal late Tuesday, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the board's offer would be reviewed. Talks, the union said, were to resume at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

    "I'm not exactly sure if I would consider it an ultimatum, but we will look at it. We will study it. But we just got it so it's going to take a little while to have a conversation about it," she said.

    Earlier, Lewis said talks had resulted in "compromise on some level" but said the two side remained "miles apart."

    During an break in negotiations, she said just six of the 49 articles in the union's contract had been agreed upon, and classified claims by the district that an end to the stalemate was near as "lunacy."

    Contract talks resumed before noon for the second day of the city's first teacher strike in 25 years.

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    "This is far more than a labor struggle. This is a struggle for the heart and the soul of public education for the kids of Chicago," American Teachers Federation President Randi Weingarten said during a big rally downtown -- the second massive protest in as many days.

    Lewis said the two sides still differ on teacher evaluations and job security, namely who will be responsible for hiring teachers.

    In response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's potential next step -- an injunction requiring teachers to get back to work -- Lewis said he doesn't have the legal standing.

    "We have a completely legal work stoppage, we have followed every rule," she said.

    On Monday evening, Chicago School Board President David Vitale said he expected a deal to be reached Tuesday. But by morning, a CTU spokeswoman was out with an email, blasting him for apparent dishonesty.

    "It is not accurate to say both sides are extremely close. This is misinformation," CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said in a statement.

    "We did not pick this fight," Lewis told reporters before walking into Tuesday's negotiations at the offices of Bloch, Dowd & Bennett. "They've known since May they had this deadline and this could happen. ... For some reason deadlines don't mean anything to them.

    Meanwhile, student attendance at the 147 strike-designated schools and safe haven sites was reportedly low for the second day. At a South Side YMCA, the site saw just 35 kids Monday and Tuesday, lower than expected.

    NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.