October 4, 2012
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today ratified a contract with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that puts the academic needs of the District’s children first by ensuring a full, quality school day and year, providing teachers with new professional development supports and a fair raise, securing principals’ responsibility to hire of their own staff and maintaining high-quality school options for parents.
The contract must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education and is expected to be presented to the Board at its upcoming meeting on October 24.
“I am pleased that the members of the CTU have ratified this contract, and we can now demonstrate to our students that even when two sides start far apart, they can find common ground and reach a resolution. It’s an incredibly important message to send,” said Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale. “We want our teachers to know that we support them in the great work they are doing every single day. It is because of their work that our students have made significant academic strides over the last year and we can and will work together to keep that momentum going for our students.”
With the ratification of this contract, key benefits are enhanced and critical tools that help support student growth will be improved and maintained, including:
- Full, Quality School Day and Year: A 7-hour day for elementary students, and a 7.5-hour day for high school students. An additional 11 days of student instruction, bringing the CPS District above the national average and ending one of the shortest school years in the country.
- Teacher-Designed Evaluation System: This new system, for the first time, includes measures of student growth, and meaningful feedback and support for teachers to help them continuously improve both their practice and student achievement. The system is being updated for the first time in 40 years as part of a new state law mandating more rigorous teacher evaluations.
- Maintaining Benefits and Pensions: Members will continue to receive the same health care coverage and their contribution rates will be frozen. Like the nearly 40,000 City employees and all CPS employees who have already signed up for the City of Chicago Wellness Program, CTU members will join the program at no cost. Additionally, the Board will continue to fund 7 percent of the 9 percent employee pension contribution.
- High Quality School Options: This contract puts students first by maintaining high-quality school choices for parents, including STEM schools, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, charter schools, selective enrollment and neighborhood schools.
- Principals Maintain Responsibility for Hiring Decisions: Principals will continue to be empowered to hire the teachers they believe will best meet the unique needs of their students and support their growth.
This three-year contract, with a fourth year option to renew, also allows for the first time that layoff decisions by the District be based on performance and not solely on seniority. It also creates a new pool of high-quality teachers that must meet rigorous standards before being hired by principals, ensuring that only the best teachers will be hired for our students. Teachers will also receive an average annual salary increase of 4.4 percent over four years. The total cost to the District is $295 million over four years, or an average of $74 million per year. This is, on average, $55 million less per year than the previous contract.
Chicago Public Schools serves 402,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.