FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, April 16, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool today announced the District is recommending the Chicago Board of Education to accept the fair and reasonable contract recommendations from the neutral, third party fact finder chosen by the CTU and CPS.
CEO Claypool also urged CTU leadership to return to the bargaining, rather than start its announced countdown to a strike.
The Fact Finder concluded that the January 29 agreement CPS reached with CTU leadership before it was rejected by CTU’s Big Bargaining Team is the “most reasonable approach to an extremely difficult situation,” and “sought to protect, and indeed, did protect, the core interests of both parties.”
Additional information is available at cps.edu/factfinding
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by CEO Forrest Claypool
“Today, an independent, experienced, third party impartial arbitrator – one who was chosen by both CPS and CTU – found that the deal we reached in January was a reasonable and fair contract in extremely difficult circumstances. CPS says yes to the fact finders’ recommendation, and we believe that it should be the basis for a final contract.
The fact finder recommended in its entirety the deal that CPS reached with the leadership of the CTU, which was then rejected by the CTU’s Big Bargaining Team before CTU’s members could vote on it.
The fact finder said that given CPS’ dire financial situation, the Comprehensive Contract Proposal is the “most viable choice.” He wrote the Jan. 29 deal is: “is the most reasonable approach to an extremely difficult situation.”
He went on to say that the Comprehensive Contract Proposal is: “an extremely carefully balanced document that sought to protect, and indeed, did protect, the core interests of both parties. The CCP was a proposal that provided security to employees while providing some measure of economic relief to the Board.”
This report should not be the precursor to a strike – it must be the precursor to a final agreement. I was disappointed to hear the CTU’s president say today that this starts the clock for a strike.
Rather than start the clock for a strike that would cost our children precious days of school at the end of the year, I would urge that the CTU uses the remaining time on the clock to join us and concentrate on reaching a final deal so that Chicago’s children can continue their extraordinary academic progress.
The fact finder’s recommendation is based on a reasonable deal that included many compromises from both sides. It is a deal that gives our teachers an average raise of 13.5 percent over the life of the contract, while at the same time recognizing that shared sacrifice requires them to make the full employee contributions to their pensions that the District has been picking up for 30 years in addition to its own 9 percent contribution. It changes conditions in the classroom in line with teachers’ requests on testing, grading and paperwork. It establishes community schools, calling for a joint partnership and significant resources to establish additional programming.
My hope is that the CTU leadership will reconsider their outright and premature rejection of this recommendation by the impartial fact finder. My hope is that they will give their members an opportunity to read the fact finder’s report, and come to their own conclusions about the best path forward. My hope is that we can quickly reach an agreement so that we can stand united in demanding our fair share of funding from Springfield.
In coming months, I worry about CPS’ deteriorating finances. Already this year, we had to cut school budgets to preserve cash to make our upcoming state-mandated pension payment of nearly $700 million dollars to the teachers’ pension fund. Already this year, we’ve seen the bond markets demand punishing interest rates after the CTU’s Big Bargaining Team rejected the tentative agreement and Governor Rauner cheered for bankruptcy. Without an agreement and without fair funding from Springfield, CPS will continue to face tough choices, like larger class sizes, fewer teachers, outdated textbooks and crumbling buildings.
This broken, discriminatory system must be fixed, and we will continue to push to make sure our children are treated with justice and equality. Even the CTU acknowledges that CPS’ finances have “surpassed the danger zone and are now nearly at meltdown.” Once again – we hope that the CTU will work with us on an agreement so we can stand united in demanding our fair share of funding from Springfield.
Finally, to the families of our students: We will do everything possible to prevent a strike and reach a fair deal. Your children are making tremendous progress, and our goal is to keep them on their upward track. We know we can do this if we all work together.”