Once again, the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools are at a crossroads. If they fail to reach a deal on a new contract, there will be budget cuts to each individual school. In a scramble to keep teachers employed, principals were forced to save as much money as possible and raise funds from families of the school children. Charter schools who are under CPS look to be losing an estimated amount of $13 million. The CEO of CPS has stated that the cuts are needed in order to stay afloat to pay the faculty and other expenses. The CEO is hoping that an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union will come soon in order to have the money to avoid laying teachers off. As Chicago Public schools try their best not to lay off teachers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. The principals at each school have to manipulate their budgets as the cuts come out and will ultimately have to send teachers packing. It will be difficult for the schools to come back from cuts this extreme because of the loss in teachers and the loss in time teaching the students.
Yet with all of this, it looks as if Chicago Public Schools have not offered a solid contract to the teacher’s union that would restrict classroom sizes getting bigger, restrict the mass firings of teachers, or the major budget cuts without any ideas of where extra money could come from. So, naturally, the Chicago Teachers Union denied that offer. Not only have the teachers been scared for their positions, but they have been told that their pensions would go up 7 percentage points instead of a raise, and now the Chicago Public School district is looking to also take that away in order to save money. In total, CPS would save over 100 million from cuts to pay and pension.
The serious problem I have with all of this is the amount money being pulled in and out of an organization that is in charge of teaching Chicago children. This organization is run too much like a business. There is no mention of pulling money from other sources to help pay for the staff’s salary. Is there any truth to the money from tolls going towards education? I find it hard to believe that a city with so much money can’t afford to pay teachers the salary they deserve with reasonable benefits. I can understand why the Chicago Teachers Union would deny anything that comes back from CPS that doesn’t have some kind of justification of monetary resources and reassurance of job security. I personally wouldn’t want to work for an organization that could cut my benefits at any given moment because of the way they used their money to support the services they are providing.
Hopefully CPS and the CTU can come to an agreement as soon as possible. The last thing we need in the city of Chicago is job cuts and lack of a good education because the leaders can’t come to a reasonable solution.