CHICAGO (CBS) — A teachers’ strike that tied for the fourth longest in Chicago history is now over – but did the teachers get what they wanted?
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole had a look Thursday night at what was gained, and what remained out of reach, in the negotiations.
The Chicago Public Schools’ original offer called for a 14% pay hike over five years. The Chicago Teachers Union wanted a 15% hike over three years. In the end, both agreed on a 16% pay hike over five years – with the average teacher eventually earning $100,000.
But that was a compromise on the table as early as September.
Class size apparently kept teachers on picket lines. The Chicago Teachers Union wanted limits in elementary school – for example, set at 24 students – but in the end, they agreed to 28 in the lower grades and 31 in higher elementary grades.
The compromise was the Joint Class Size Assessment Council, which has enforcement power to address crowded conditions.
In addition, CPS raised the amount of money committed to reducing class size from $6 million per year to $35 million a year.
Teachers also insisted on increased support staffing, and CPS provided significant gains beyond their initial double-digit offers.
The number of social workers will rise from 341 to 665 by the end of the contract. Nurses will see their numbers jump from 273 to 598. That places one of each of these workers at every CPS school.
They are issues that put the strike behind them, now the CPS $5.5 billion budget will be tweaked starting next month to make sure it can all be paid for.
“In looking at this deal, the CPS team had their budget folks right at the table, and were doing their calculations along the way to make sure that whatever we offered, that was in the realm of possibility,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
An independent analysis found Mayor Lightfoot’s original proposal could be paid for with a tax increase of less than $14 per household. There is much more to be paid for now, and all of that will have to be crunched into the budgets for the coming years.