CPS, CTU meet for bargaining session

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Saturday, February 6, 2016
CTU, CPS return to negotiations
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The CTU and CPS officials resumed negotiations Friday on a new contract.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public School officials resumed negotiations Friday on a new contract.

Both sides met with a fact finder and more political efforts aim to address the school district's ongoing money issues after the CTU rejected the last CPS offer Monday.

On Thursday the CTU organized a march through the Loop during rush hour.

"I think that we are still far apart at the bargaining table, but as always, we're working, I'm hopeful for a resolution," said Jesse Sharkey, CTU.

As work is done to come up with a new contract for teachers, work continues to find long-term stability for the cash-strapped public school system.

"It's going to require some shared responsibility from the Chicago Teachers Union, from us at CPS and managing the system more efficiently and most importantly - the State of Illinois and the governor have to rectify this radical discrimination in funding against the kids of Chicago," said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool.

Claypool says with 86 percent of CPS students being low-income and a majority of students African American and Latino, there's a disparity in funding from the state that is discriminatory.

"We'll use every tool at our disposal to protect our children," Claypool said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner disputes any disparity as he considers a state takeover of CPS.

"There are folks in Chicago who want to say, 'Chicago's different. Chicago's special. We should be treated different,'" Rauner said. "No, there are low-income students, there are minority students in Rockford and in Decatur, and East St. Louis, and Harvey - you know what? Chicago doesn't get to dictate terms."

But for now, CPS is still under the control of the mayor's office.

"We're evaluating and making sure - both at the negotiating table and otherwise - tell the state that the inequity that's existed for decades has to come to an end, it's unfair," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Negotiations will resume Monday. But CTU promises there will be more demonstrations until they have an agreement.

Mid-semester cuts to school support staff and funding totaling $100 million are still scheduled.