Chicago Public Schools, teachers union reach ‘interim, binding agreement’ |

24 Jul

Chicago Public Schools has found some common ground with its teachers’ union on the controversial issue of a longer school day.

Union leaders announced an agreement on the issue Tuesday afternoon. They say it is a victory for Chicago teachers.

The bottom line is that students will spend more time in classrooms. Teachers, however, will not have to spend more time than they already do in the classrooms.

Some CPS schools already have what Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls a “full day,” 7 1/2 hours for high school students and 7 hours for elementary school students. Tuesday’s agreement means all schools will have now have a longer day.

Both sides are calling this a victory, both the teachers union and the school board, and to a certain extent, both sides did get what they wanted out of this compromise.

Teachers union president Karen Lewis says that the teachers will see only a ‘modest’ increase to their work day, but students will get more instructional time. The district, she says, has agreed to hire about 500 additional teachers who will help fill those additional minutes in the classroom.

Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale said it will cost around $40-50 million to hire the 477 additional teachers need to accommodate the longer school day.

The longer school day was a major sticking point between the two sides, but there are still plenty of other issues on the table, including salary and health benefits.

The board is dealing with a major budget deficit as well

.”We have a 98 percent strike authorization vote,” Lewis said. “I want to remind you of that. That has not changed. We have a long way to go before this contract is settled. We have a long way to go before this contract is settled, but this is a really good start in the right direction.”

“It is not a question of whether we are going to have a longer school day,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are going to have that. The question is how we’re going to do that, and today’s agreement reflects that, and we can’t, as I said, afford not to give our kids the longer school day.

“Now they need to figure out the budget. Lewis refused to discuss the issue of salary Tuesday. She says that is not something that has come up so far in negotiations.

Watch Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis’s announcement

Watch Mayor Emanuel announce longer CPS school day

via Chicago Public Schools, teachers union reach ‘interim, binding agreement’ |


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