The current Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) contract negotiated after the strike gives teachers raises averaging more than 17 percent over four years. Seventeen percent! A school system running a $1-billion deficit can't afford it, and the CTU knew it. In other words, the union chose to get big pay increases for some teachers at the expense of teachers who have to be laid off. Solidarity forever!
Notes the Illinois Policy Institute:
While the immediate cause of these layoffs is the school restructuring plan, the Chicago Teachers Union’s shortsighted demands for pay increases also played a part. We predicted large-scale layoffs in the CPS system almost as soon as last fall’s teacher strike ended and the terms of a new contract were released.
CPS teachers have long been among the best paid in the nation, with an average salary of $76,000 at the beginning of the last school year. The current contract gives teachers raises averaging more than 17 percent over four years. The district’s finances are further strained by underfunded pensions. The end of a pension “holiday” – in which the district was allowed to skip on needed pension fund contributions – meant that CPS faced a budget deficit of $1 billion next year.
One other interesting fact I noticed while reading this: There are almost as many school administrators as there are teachers. And the average administrator salary is $120,659. $120,659!
Here's what the institute predicted after the contract was approved:
And the economic terms could lead to bankruptcy. A district that expects to drain its reserve funds and is looking at a billion dollar budget hole the year after this cannot afford across-the-board pay raises. CTU teachers could have taken a 13 percent pay cut and still been doing better than many of their peers. Either CPS will need a bailout, or we can look forward to schools being closed and teachers laid off. [Emphasis added.]
The next time that CTU President Karen Lewis moans and groans about teacher layoffs, maybe someone will remind her of her union's own role in it.
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