Intelligence Report: How much of a raise will Chicago teachers actually get?

September 19, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Here is the question: If the new teachers contract calls for percentage raises of 3 plus 2 plus 2 plus 3, that equals a total 10 percent raise over four years. So how is that leaders of the Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are adding up those same numbers to a 17 percent raise?

"In the past our taxpayers paid more and our kids got less," Emanuel says. "In this contract, our taxpayers are paying less and are kids are getting more."

Taxpayers are funding what Mayor Emanuel and school officials say is a 17.6 percent raise over four years.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Teachers Union tells the I-Team: "That number is PR spin by the board. They may be adding in (other) increases that have been a part of CTU's contract since 1967...They do have a knack for making things up."

So, is it 17.6 percent as the city claims? Or is it 10 percent, which is how the figures in the tentative contract add up?

The answer would confound even math teachers: both figures are accurate.

17.6 percent is the total of all the new raises in the contract, compounded over four years, factoring in higher pay for years of experience on the job and for those with master's degrees.

Teachers union officials contend those additional raises have been in effect for 45 years and should not be considered part of the new deal that pays cost of living increases of either 2 or 3 percent per year for a total of 10 percent.

Regardless, the bottom line of the contract is the same, a line that Mayor Emanuel was glad to repeat on Wednesday.

"We took major pieces out of these contract negotiations that had been around before," said Emanuel. "By any estimation, this will cost $75 million a year. Past contracts cost $130 million a year."

The teachers themselves still have to decide on the contract in the next two weeks.

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