MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — A new education bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Monday is being hailed as a model for the nation.
It allows for more time in the classroom for students, while at the same time rewarding good teachers and preserving their right to negotiate contracts.
But CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine says there’s still a major stumbling block: money. Money to pay for longer school days. Money to pay for extending the school year. Money to pay for scheduled raises for Chicago public school teachers.
The legislation received near-unanimous support in Springfield, even though his new chairman of the State Board of Education stressed that just because the new law allows for a longer school day doesn’t make it a done deal.
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“A longer school day and a longer school year will be the subject of a negotiation between local school district officials and their union representatives,” Gery Chico said. “That has to be worked out.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, claimed everyone was on board.
Yet conspicuous by their absence at Monday’s event was President Karen Lewis or anyone else from the Chicago Teachers Union.
“I really think you’re trying to make something out of nothing,” Dan Montgomery of the Illinois Federation of Teachers told Levine.
Montgomery had just spoken Emanuel, whose body language appeared unmistakable. The mayor refused to point fingers when we asked him about it.
“I haven’t talked to Karen Lewis. I’m not going to cast any judgment,” he said.
Another sticking point could be a scheduled 4 percent salary increase for teachers and other union members. Emanuel’s new school board is scheduled to vote this week on whether to withhold that wage hike.
Four percent raises for the teachers and other Chicago Public Schools unions account for nearly $100 million of the projected $700 million deficit.