PHOTOS: CTU members rally in support of 1-year contract
With less than two weeks to go, thousands of Chicago Public Schools students are ready for the end of the school year. At the same time, their teachers are gearing up for the end of another contract.
The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for a one-year contract with a 3 percent raise. In addition, the CTU wants limits to class sizes and additional resources.
"We need a just equitable distribution of resources in our school system, so every school has what it needs including a nurse, a social worker, a librarian," said Martin Ritter, a CTU organizer.
The school board wants a three-year deal with a 1 percent raise in the third year. Facing a $1.1 billion deficit and millions of dollars-worth of owed pension payments, CPS says it cannot afford CTU's demands.
The union isn't buying it. The CTU says CPS is broke on purpose and its financial crisis is a manufactured one. The teachers are calling on the district to fight for revenue from different sources.
"CTU is advocating for more revenue for our schools. That could include a financial transactions tax, that could include a winding down of some of these unnecessary TIFF districts, and also wasteful spending on things like standardized tests, the SUPES contract," Ritter said.
A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said in a written statement: "The financial crisis facing Chicago Public Schools has arrived at our classroom doors and threatens to destroy our top priority -- ensuring our students and teachers have the resources they need to succeed in the classroom. Protecting those resources is becoming increasingly impossible due to a broken system that forces Chicago residents to pay twice for teacher pensions, and because Illinois ranks second to last in the nation when it comes to funding schools. Springfield must provide a consensus on education funding to allow students and teachers to continue the tremendous academic achievements that are being made."