CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago teachers could go on strike as early as Thursday if there’s no deal.
If that happens, there won’t be any classes or after school activities, but buildings will be open so students have somewhere to go.
When a deal is reached, millions of Chicagoans will pay for it.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole crunched the numbers.
If you were studying up on the particulars of this negotiation, with talks held behind closed doors, you might be hard pressed for even the softest of facts.
“It seems like every day, there is a new demand that’s coming out of the woodwork,” said Austin Berg of the Illinois Policy Institute. The conservative leaning organization took a look at what we do know about each side’s proposal.
“We essentially took the independent fact finders report,” Berg said.
The report was conducted with representatives from both sides. Berg found Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan could be financed by a property tax increase of $13.56 per household. The CTU plan would add up to much more, an increase of $235.11.
“These demands go so far beyond what’s been budgeted already,” Berg said.
A CTU spokesperson said “we are asking for a lot and we realize we won’t get that.”
“It’s very difficult when negotiations are behind closed doors it’s hard to know what’s been proposed and what’s political posturing,” Berg added.
Both sides characterize the latest round of negotiations as productive. CPS is offering a 16% teacher’s raise over five years, bringing the average teacher salary to almost $100,000.
“Adjusted for cost of living, that’s the highest of any major city in the country,” Berg said.
Sticking points apparently include class sizes. The CTU said 1,300 classrooms throughout the district are overcrowded. It wants to drop the official class limit from 28 to 24 students in primary schools and from 31 to 28 students in high school. As a disincentive, CPS would have to pay teachers $5.00 per day, per student for overcrowded conditions.
The CTU is also concerned with pay for support staff like teacher aides, who make as little as $28,000 a year. The hardest thing for many to digest is that both sides publicly are not speaking contentiously about negotiations, but a strike is still on the horizon, less than two days from now.