Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sun-Times: School Board rejects teacher raises, union plans to negotiate decision

More about the new School Board action on Wednesday to reject teacher raises:
Newly-elected School Board President David Vitale said that board members, following a presentation by board staff, were convinced of the “depth of the budget problem’’ but also were persuaded by staff contentions that:

◆ Even without the four percent previously-negotiated raises, 75 percent of all teachers will get automatic raises of between 1 percent and 5 percent for adding another year of experience or for increasing their credentials.

◆ Based on base salary alone, the minimum CPS starting teachers salary of $50,577 is No. 1 among the nation’s 10 largest cities. Its maximum salary, requiring a master’s degree, of $87,673 is No. 2, behind New York City. Its average salary also is among the top one or two, Human Capital Officer Alicia Winckler told board members.

◆ While teachers have enjoyed four percent raises for the last four years, central office staff have swallowed two years of pay freezes and furloughs and principals endured one year of them.

The last time the board claimed it could not cover its teacher salary obligations was in 1991, said one board attorney. In that year, the CTU agreed to shrink a scheduled seven percent salary increase down to four percent, but resumed its previously-agreed seven percent raise the following year, the attorney said.

The showdown is nerve-wracking for parents, who were threatened last year with higher class sizes. New Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said Wednesday he does not want to even consider such a move.
Of course, there is a debate about that...
[Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen] Lewis called some of Winckler’s numbers “ridiculous’’ and claimed the added pay for another year of experience or added credentials amount to. at most, $35 to $50 more in take home pay every two weeks over 26 pay periods. “People tell me, `Oh, I thought I would get a raise and it’s only 20 bucks,’” Lewis said.

She also noted that across the state, CPS teacher pay is not that competitive. Lewis cited a May 31 Chicago Sun-Times report that found that CPS high school teachers average total compensation, with benefits, ranks No. 71 in the state. CPS elementary teachers came in No. 38.
Any parents out there willing to comment on this issue about the teacher's union vs. school board debate?

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