No raise for Chicago public school teachers...

and a tax increase for everyone else.

It's nut-cutting time for Chicago Public Schools. Chicago schools are in such a mess that the options are down to just a few, including, no raise for Chicago Public School teachers and a tax increase for everyone else.

Even with that, bankruptcy could well be in the future for Chicago Public Schools, imposing even greater hardships.

The future is laid out clearly and precisely in this Chicago Tribune story: "CPS' billion-dollar budget hole leaves unappealing options," by  and .

The Chicago Teachers' Union are negotiating for a new contract this year, and no doubt will be looking for more money.* That shouldn't happen. They, like everyone else, will have to sacrifice. If they were in the private sector working for a company facing bankruptcy, they wouldn't be bargaining for a raise. They'd be lucky if they didn't get a pay or benefit cut, or lose their jobs altogether.

And the usual fake dodge of "I didn't raise property taxes" also will have to end, a campaign tactic employed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his predecessor, Mayor Richard M. Daley. Taxpayers also will have to sacrifice, along with teachers, administrators and all the other "I've-got-to-have-mine" participants in the death spiral of the school system.

Emanuel, of course, wants a bailout from Illinois, saying that Chicagoans are being taxed twice for their schools, unlike suburbanites and downstaters. He's got a point. Chicagoans cover the bulk of the school pension costs, while they also cough up a share of the money for  suburban and downstate teachers pensions. But the answer isn't to nick non-Chicagoans for more money for Chicago pensions. The rational thing to do is to require suburban and downstaters to pay for their own schools' pension. Why in hell should pensions be paid for by anyone but the school districts that negotiate the pensions? Why the hell should the state have anything at all to say what those pensions should be?

It's not fair, you say? Well, was it fair for you and our generation to leave this mess to future generations? It's time to sacrifice.

*We're being led to believe that this time around the CTU is not asking for the usual benefits, including higher pay. Their demands allegedly are all directed at improving the school system. Details are in this Chicago Tonight report, "CPS & CTU Begin Contract Talks."  Here is the CTU's own description of the terms. As a former union officer myself, I can say that it is standard in contract talks to demand  improvements in quality of the product or service, along with the usual wage and benefit demands. It will indeed be headlines if the teachers and administrators seek no pay increase and/or fewer benefits.

Related Updates: 

  • "Investors demand fat yields for Chicago Public Schools' $295.7 million general obligation bond sale." Reuters.
  • "Chicago Schools Pay Price to Get Deal Done." The Bond Buyer.
  • "Public Education and the Ability to Do Math in Chicago." Huffington Post.
  • "CPS haunted by bankruptcy chatter ahead of bond sale." Crain's Chicago Business.
  • "Rauner blasts CPS as layered in 'bureaucracy' once run as 'political patronage operation'" Chicago Sun-Times.
  • "Many school districts pay employees' pension contributions: BGA." Chicago Sun-Times

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit:


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  • It's misleading to use the private sector as a guide post for teachers' salaries. If a business can't make money, it goes out of business and, yes the jobs disappear. The only business of CPS, though is educating Chicago's kids, not producing profits. If the schools can't attract and keep good teachers, the victims are the kids, not the stock and/or bond holders. The bottom line in the business of education is priority and the future belongs to nations that prioritize education.

  • Indeed, the education of children needs the highest priority. But do they get the best education from the Chicago Public Schools?

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