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CHICAGO (CBS) – School may be out, but the fight for teachers’ pay remains.
The city’s board of education this week said it does not have money for a 4 percent raise for teachers.
Mayor Emanuel’s decision to cut the teachers’ across-the-board raises has provoked reactions among the rank and file, from anger to resignation. There’s a wide range of opinions about what it all means.
At La Salle Language Academy, second-grade teacher Julie Waller’s summer is off to a bitter start.
“We work so hard, and for them to take it away, it’s as though they don’t appreciate all that we do,” Waller told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley. “And for them to say, ‘4 per cent, no way,’ it’s very, very upsetting.”
At La Salle, one of the city’s top-performing schools, there’s strong support among parents for retaining the teachers’ raise. And while none of the teachers are eager to give up the pay hike, some see little alternative.
“The deficit is so huge in the public school system that everybody’s got to cut back,” teacher Mary Fister said.
Still, for teachers like Waller, there’s deep suspicion over whether the crisis is real.
“I think there’s lots of money that can be found in many areas,” she said.
Three out of four teachers will still get more money — pay raises rewarding seniority and advanced degrees. The teachers union has already made it clear it wants to negotiate over the eliminated raises. If those talks fail, the whole contract could be re-opened.