October 24, 2012
The Chicago Board of Education today approved the new three-year Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) contract with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that puts the academic needs of the District’s children first. The contract ensures a full, quality school day and year, provides teachers with a fair raise and new professional development supports, secures principals’ responsibility to hire of their own staff and maintains high-quality school options for parents. Members of the CTU previously ratified the agreement on Oct. 4.
“This contract is the result of two sides coming together to put our students first,” said Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale. “Principals and teachers will now receive the supports they need to help our students succeed in the classroom. Over the last year, our students have made great academic strides and we will continue to work together to make sure we stay on this path.”
The contract enhances key benefits and improves critical tools that help support student growth, 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 maintains 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 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.