The tentative agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union passed with a far from unanimous 362-242 vote Wednesday night by CTU elected delegates. The deal is still subject to approval by the union’s full membership. And CPS has yet to lay out the costs.
Here are some highlights:
A new joint class size council will be created to address overcrowding. The council will get weekly updated data and will have $35 million per year to address situations on a case-by-case basis.
Overcrowded classrooms will only get relief, however, when they hit certain hard caps. Those limits are: 32 students in a K-3 class, 35 kids in grades 4-8 and 32 students in core high school classes. The district’s guidelines for normal-sized classes — ones it says it “shall aspire to stay within” — are 32 for K-3, 31 for grades 4-8 and 25 for core high school classes.
So remedies for overcrowding will only kick in when there are 4, 4 and 7 students, respectively, above what a normal class should have, according to the agreement.
Five years, which CPS says it needs to ramp up some of the CTU’s staffing demands. That’s two more than the CTU wanted.
Salaries and compensation
Union employees will see cost-of-living-adjustments on July 1st of:
- 3.0% for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years
- 3.5% for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years
In addition, $5 million per year will be made available for “step” raises that reward experience for those who’ve been teaching for 14 or more years in CPS. Currently, teachers are paid a step raise — in addition to the cost of living raises — every year until year 14, when they don’t qualify for another one until year 20 and then a final one in year 25. CPS has promised to provide exact details of how these raises will work before CTU membership ratifies the contract, but in the past contract they boosted some teacher pay by 3 percent or more per year.
Freezes health insurance premiums through 2022. Employee health contributions will go up by .25% in 2023, followed by .5% in 2024.
A net zero increase in the amount of Board-authorized charter schools over the contract’s lifespan.
The cap for the number of sick days teachers can roll over will rise from 40 to 244. Teachers may also donate up to 10 sick days to other employees from either their grandfathered or union sick day bank.
The CTU is boasting “hard gains” in social workers, nursing staff and case managers.
School counselors, special educators and clinicians will no longer have to perform case manager tasks. The individualized education plans known as IEPs will be solely made by the IEP team of educators, support staff and families. There’s now a pool of subs for special education teachers, who can’t be assigned to cover any duties that aren’t special ed related. Clinicians are guaranteed a private, confidential space for working with students.
Private agency nurses will be phased out and replaced with permanent hires.
A pot of $2.5 million per year, up from $500,000, will help reduce workloads for counselors, case managers and clinicians.
And CPS will ramp up its overall number of support staffers for special education by the end of the contract.
Adds in-laws and domestic partners for the five existing bereavement leave days, and permits using the days in two installments within a month of the death.
- The Joint Teacher Evaluation Committee — made of five union members and five Board members — will provide annual recommendations to the chief talent officer and CTU president on how to improve teacher evaluations.
- Student growth scores will make up 30% of an evaluation’s summative rating.
- All formal evaluation observations will be followed by a post-conference.
- Teachers can recommend time and date preferences when scheduling observations.
Students experiencing homelessness
Creates a School Community Representative position for schools with 75–139 students in temporary living situations. Schools with 140 or more students experiencing homelessness will receive two community representatives. The position will be responsible for removing enrollment barriers, healthcare intervention and providing support for families to access housing or other services.
- A joint committee of Board of Education and CTU members will assess bilingual education programs to identify and address areas of need.
- The board will offer at least 50% reduced tuition at partner universities for teachers to earn a bilingual and/or ESL endorsement.
- Further defines duties of English learner program coordinators.
- A joint committee will recommend ways that CPS can minimize or remove obstacles to volunteer opportunities for parents of English learners.
Students in full-day pre-K “shall be allowed to nap.” Preschool teacher assistants can’t be pulled away from their classrooms to perform unrelated duties such as lunch or recess. A 10:1 student-assistant ratio must be maintained. And classrooms where aides must diaper students must be safe and sanitary, with all supplies provided. Students can’t be punished or excluded from instruction due to toileting accidents.
One on CPS’ budgeting mechanism known as student-based budgeting, one on CPS’ ratings policy known as SQRP. CPS will “continue to engage in a process” on both aimed at increasing the equity of both.
And “men and women teachers” was replaced with gender-neutral language. “The Board shall ensure that all schools are provided with washrooms and rest areas for all bargaining unit members that are accessible to all bargaining unit members during all workdays, private, clean and comfortable.”