Last week, the Chicago Teachers’ Union voted to authorize a strike on October 11th if the union and Chicago Public Schools can’t agree on a new teachers’ contract before then. While the contract offered by CPS includes an 8.75% raise over four years, it also requires teachers to pay a larger proportion of contributions to their healthcare benefits and pensions, as detailed here by WBEZ. The upshot is that many teachers will wind up with less take-home pay under the CPS proposal. This fight is happening against the backdrop of cuts to CPS’s budget that have resulted in over 1,200 layoffs of teachers and support staff since the beginning of the summer.
Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel has access to millions of dollars in surplus TIF money that could be used to restore the money cut from CPS’s budget and give teachers a fairer contract (for background on the TIF situation, check out this Chicago Progress interview with local organizer and TIF expert Tom Tresser). Alds. George Cardenas (12th Ward) and Sue Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward) have sponsored an ordinance that would require these surplus TIF dollars to be diverted to CPS, and while that ordinance stalled last month, Cardenas remains in talks with City Hall to hammer out a similar agreement. It’s important to let our aldermen know that the city cannot skimp on funding public education, and that these TIF dollars should be directed to CPS. You can use the links below to write emails to your alderman, as well as members of the City Council’s finance committee, and ask them to support efforts to use TIF money to restore CPS funding and give teachers the contract they deserve.
Contact your alderman: http://www.ctunet.com/legislative/tif
Contact the finance committee: http://www.ctunet.com/legislative/tif-ordinance-finance-committee