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Chicago Teachers Union reaches settlement on pay for 'Pioneer School' teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have settled a long-running dispute over CPS’s unlawful implementation of a longer school day at 13 neighborhood schools without properly compensating the teachers for the extra hours of work. The agreement was signed by both parties following the Board of Education meeting on March 28, 2012.

Flanked by parents, teachers, and community leaders, CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey (above at microphones) spoke during the protest rally prior to the March 28, 2012 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.As reported in August and September 2011 in Substance. CPS unilaterally implemented the Longer School Day Pioneer Program beginning on September 26, 2011, with the last implementation date in January 2012, at a total of 13 schools. To induce teacher cooperation, CPS paid teachers up to $750 stipends and up to $150,000 to each school that participated in the program.

The CTU filed Labor Board charges, alleging that the Longer School Day violated its bargaining rights, and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board unanimously voted on October 20, 2011 to seek injunctive relief blocking CPS from implementing the program at any of other 600+ public schools whose staff is represented by the CTU, and referring the initial 13 schools to a hearing before an Administrative Law judge. Rather than face a court fight, CPS agreed not to impose the longer school day at any more schools this school year.

“Today’s settlement is a great victory for collective bargaining in Chicago, and a step forward for the Chicago Public Schools,” says CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “The longer school day will give CPS students the schools they deserve only if sufficient resources are devoted to making it work, including fair compensation for teachers. We have serious reservations whether CPS will devote sufficient resources system-wide to maintain reasonable class size, educate the whole child, provide robust wrap-around services, and provide quality facilities. But CPS makes its first good faith step in that direction today.”

Today’s settlement resolves the fate of the 13 schools. The agreement effectively guarantees those teachers the same salary for the 2011-12 school year that teachers will receive next school year when the longer school day is implemented system-wide. Under the agreement, CPS will initially pay over $300,000 in prorated payments of up to $1,500 for each teacher employed at the 13 schools.

CPS has also agreed that when the labor contract is concluded for the 2012-13 school year, these teachers will be paid the difference between this year’s compensation (including the $750 stipend and $1500 settlement) and next year’s negotiated salary. The effect will be that the salaries negotiated for next school year – when Mayor Rahm Emanuel imposes the longer school day at all CPS schools – will be paid to the teachers at the 13 schools retroactively for this year.



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