CTU, CPS agree on longer school day - FOX 32 News Chicago

CTU, CPS agree on longer school day

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools reached a rare agreement in the tense talks regarding the teachers' contract. Both sides claimed victory Tuesday.

Both sides said they have hammered out a way to achieve a longer school day, yet not break the bank or the backs of teachers.

"I want to reassure parents. The school day starts on August 13th and our kids will have a full school day and full school year to achieve that," Mayor Emanuel said. "There are other issues to work through."

"We have a long way to go before this contract is settled but this is a really good start in the right direction," CTU president Karen Lewis said.

That means both sides are still sitting at the negotiating table - working to settle the rest of the contract to avert cps' first teachers strike in 25 years. But progress has been made.

"This is a great day for the kids of the city of Chicago. This is about them and the work they need to do to be successful," Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean Claude Brizard said.

"So originally, their plan was to have teachers do 7 hours and 40 minutes," Lewis said. "We got rid of the 40."

Lewis said CPS teachers will be working the same amount of hours. The Board will be hiring 477 new teachers for subjects like art and music. They will be picking up the extra load. The additional staff will come from a pool of teachers who were laid off over the past three years.

Hiring more teachers instead of giving them the recommended 20 percent raise could save the School Board as much as $280 million.

Here's the breakdown: it will be a full school day for CPS students - 7 hours for elementary and 7 1/2 for high school students.

'We're still looking at healthcare, at pay, at evaluation," Lewis said. "We're still looking at discipline."

Chicago teachers were asking for a 30 percent increase. CPS said they can't afford it because of its $665 million deficit.

When asked where the money will come from to pay new teachers, Mayor Emanuel had a quick response.

"You can't afford not to," Emanuel said.

School Board President David Vitale said the deal cements what they'll do about the longer school day, but the union and district still have to come to an agreement on many other issues involved in what will be the new contract.

Both sides said that contract negotiations are far from over - but that things are looking up.

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