Here’s what CPS teachers will make under the new contract

Two upcoming votes — including one by union members Thursday and Friday — could help the district attract and retain veteran teachers, CTU says.

SHARE Here’s what CPS teachers will make under the new contract
Chicago Teachers Union members and their supporters march through the Near West Side after a rally in Union Park

Chicago Teachers Union members and their supporters march through the Near West Side after a rally in Union Park on day five of a Chicago Public Schools district-wide strike, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Teachers Union says two upcoming votes — the first by its members and the second by the Board of Education — will provide the dual benefit of helping Chicago Public Schools attract and retain seasoned teachers by giving them more credit and more pay for their years of experience.

Members of the CTU will begin voting Thursday on a new contract that, if approved, would raise teacher salaries by more than 16 percent over the five-year deal that was negotiated to end the longest teachers strike since 1987.

The result is a starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree at $58,365 this year, while on the other end of the scale, a veteran teacher with 32 years of experience and a doctorate degree would earn $111,490, according to figures released by the union late last week.

By the last year of the contract, 2023-24, starting salaries will rise to $66,330, while the most-experienced veterans will earn more than $126,700.

Under the new contract, teachers would receive a 3% raise for the current school year and for the next two years, followed by 3.5% increases in the final two years of the contract. But the figures also detail “step” salary increases, which are based on years of service and boost pay even higher — from an additional 1.7% increase in a teacher’s second year to a 6.3% increase from years nine to 10.


New raises for veteran teachers

The new contract also tries to address the smaller step pay increases for teachers who work for the district for more than 14 years.

Between years one and 14, teachers get a 60 percent bump in pay for experience. But after year 14, teachers receive a total of 5.8 percent in step raises through year 32, where the salary table caps experience pay. During the strike, the union fought for additional pay for those veteran teachers, resulting in the city agreeing to budget an additional $5 million in pay per year for those teachers — $25 million over the life of the contract.

But CTU spokesman Eric Ruder said negotiations between the union and the district on how to parcel that money haven’t been completed yet and therefore are not reflected in the salary tables released last week. The negotiations could continue after the contract’s ratification vote, he said.

The lower increases in pay for veteran teachers has led to a “brain drain” in the district, he said.

“The last 20 years of their career, when teachers have the most experience, they see their pay start to plateau out,” he said.

In addition to experience, teachers can also increase their salary by obtaining higher degrees of education — a second-year teacher with a doctorate would earn $12,000 more than a second-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree, for example. Teachers can also earn additional pay for doing additional work, like supervising lunchrooms and leading extracurricular activities.

However, teachers can expect to make slightly less than indicated on the tables this year because the school year was shortened by six days in a last-minute negotiation between the city and union over how many of the 11 days of instruction time lost to the strike should be made up.

More credit for experience

Though it’s not included in the contract, the union negotiated with the district for a significant increase in the number of years of credit a teacher can receive for work in other school districts, Ruder said. Previously, a teacher who transferred to CPS from another school district could only receive up to two years of credit on the salary schedule — regardless of how many years they worked elsewhere.

Ruder said the board could vote as soon as its next meeting on Nov. 20 to raise that credit to 10 years, meaning experienced teachers could potentially transfer and get the same pay as someone with 11 years in CPS.

“It will finally allow [CPS] to be able to attract teachers with years of experience,” Ruder said.

CPS officials did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday about whether the measure would be included on the board’s upcoming meeting agenda.

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