By Benjamin Yount | Watchdog.org
CHICAGO — There are no details on how Chicago will pay for proposed 16 percent raises over the next four years for teachers, or how many schools in the city will close.
But apparently there is a framework in place to end Chicago’s 5-day-old teachers’ strike.
Chicago school board President Dave Vitale told reporters Friday afternoon that the board and the Chicago Teachers’ Union are very close to an agreement, and that students hopefully would “be back in school on Monday morning.”
But CTU’s lawyer, Robert Bloch, was less than certain that the deal is final. Bloch said “until an agreement is completed, the House of Delegates will not make a decision on whether to suspend the strike.”
Nearly 25,000 teachers have been out of their classrooms since Monday in a dispute over pay, an evaluation system, and whether Chicago will be required to rehire experienced teachers who may be laid off for any new job openings.
Chicago teachers will vote Sunday afternoon on whether to return to work. Nearly 400,000 students in Chicago have had to find somewhere else to be during the past week. But the city’s 50,000 charter school students did not miss class. Their teachers are not union members and did not go out of strike.
Vitale said the school district and the union will be back at the table Saturday to work on the details of the agreement, but he was quick to say that “the heavy lifting is over.”
Those details will be very important as Chicago moves past the strike. Chicago schools are expected to be nearly $1 billion in the hole heading into the next school year. Specific numbers will be needed to show how the district will pay for teacher raises, and how much money money can be saved by closing some school buildings.
Benjamin Yount is a writer for Watchdog.org, he can be reached at Ben.Yount@franklincenterhq.org