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Strike fervor heats up among Chicago teachers as Chicago Board of Education fires another 200 union members despite growing needs in all the schools... Union House of Delegates to meet Wednesday October 5 to plan strike details...

Part of the preparation for the September 2012 strike was a mass rally (at Chicago's Auditorium Theater) and march (above) through the Loop in May 2012. Despite major displays of militancy and widespread community support, the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel is challenging the teachers union to do another strike in 2016. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Anger in Chicago's truly public elementary and high schools increased on October 3, 2016, when union members learned that the Chicago Board of Education's bureaucracy has been expanding while "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool fired another 200 school workers. The Chicago Teachers Union responded with a press release, while the story was widely reported across the city a week before the union's strike date.

The teachers anger was stoked by constant reminders in the city's press that the administration of the current CEO, Forrest Claypool, is at least as corrupt as that of Claypool's predecessor, Barbara Byrd Bennet -- only not illegally corrupt, as Byrd Bennett turned out to be. On October 3, 2016, for example, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a detailed investigative report about the conflicts of interest with a major Chicago law firm that had employed both Claypool (whose CPS salary is $250,000 per year) and Claypool's appointed "General Counsel," Ronald Marmer (whose salary is $200,000 per year). According to the news report, Marmer continued working for the law firm of Jenner and Block despite CPS "Ethics" rules.

The rank and file are also angry at the constant expansion of the city's sub-districts, currently called "Networks". Unlike other Illinois school districts, Chicago operates under a "Chief Executive Officer" (Claypool) appointed by the mayor. Claypool, in his turn, appoints the "Chiefs of Schools" in the so-called "Networks". Neither Claypool nor the "Chiefs of Schools" is required to have any experience teaching or in school administration in Illinois! Since Claypool became the current CPS "CEO" in July 2015, the power of the networks has been expanded, and most recently they have been trying to block, illegally, the approval of services to children with special needs.

CPS has also continued to privatize as many public school services as possible. As school began in 2016, librarians in the city's real public schools were cut again, while school nurses and others have also been privatized, despite evidence, including a careful study by the CTU, that such cutbacks not only reduce services to children but also cost more.

CTU PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 3, 2016....

Countdown: One Week left before next Teachers go on strike, CPS disrupts more classrooms by cutting another 200 educators

NEWS RELEASE, IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin, October 3, 2016 312-329-6250

CHICAGO-The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) issued the following statement in response to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announcement of nearly 200 layoffs -- 141 teachers, 46 paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel -- due to 20th day enrollment. The cuts come at a time when Chicago's educators have authorized a strike and are set to shut down the schools on Tuesday, October 11th if no labor agreement is reached with the Board of Education and City Hall.

Teachers have vowed to protect their profession, schools and students by engaging in the third teachers' strike since Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011. CTU contends CPS can avoid a strike but the mayor and Board of Education (BOE) lack the moral will to fund the city's public schools. Hundreds of untapped money waits in the mayor's Tax increment Financing (TIF) slush fund that benefits wealthy developers and political donors.

The statement reads:

"Today's cuts are the latest round of attacks on children and are pushing educators closer to Chicago's third school strike in four years. School budgets are down more than 6 percent this year-a loss of $184 million-on top of years of sacrifice by our students, educators and schools, amounting to more than $2 billion in give backs. Compared to 2015, budgets are down by $300 million, 9.5 percent less than what district schools received two years ago, and the children are paying the cost. This is unacceptable and no way to run a world-class school district," said Stephanie Gadlin, CTU spokeswoman.

"As teachers continue to work to maintain the best classroom instruction amidst piecemeal budgets, the mayor and his handpicked CPS CEO Forrest Claypool continue to rob students of essential support staff and educators whom they've known and trusted in learning environments. In addition to disruption from the loss of personnel, special education, wrap around services and bilingual education also are being cut.

"With more than 1,200 layoffs since January, and nearly 1,500 since Claypool's appointment, the mayor and the CPS CEO are choosing to take even more from the students, educators and families who have already sacrificed so much."

On Wednesday, the CTU House of Delegates will convene to mobilize for a possible Oct. 11th teachers strike. School leaders will discuss the next phase in contract negotiations and determine logistics should educators be forced into a work stoppage. The Union and the BOE's negotiations team is set to meet three days this week to attempt to settle a contract. CTU issued a 10-(calendar) day notice on September 29th.



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