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- The 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union took a step closer to a fall strike against Chicago Public Schools Monday, announcing it has rejected an independent fact-finder’s report that leaned more toward Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposals.
- The mayor, who has governance over the school district, has offered a five-year contract that would include a 16% cost-of-living increase and a 1% increase in what employees contribute to their health care benefits. The union’s contract with the district expired in June. Meanwhile, the mayor issued a hiring freeze Monday and is expected to discuss the city's budget deficit later this week.
- CTU President Jesse Sharkey focused his comments Monday on the issue of school librarians, saying the mayor has reversed a campaign promise to increase the number of librarians. In addition to raises, CTU is asking for caps on class sizes, more social workers, nurses and other student support positions, additional special education teachers and expansion of community schools.
CTU’s strike in 2012 came about a year after former Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office and also took place at the beginning of the school year. The stoppage has been described as an action that has inspired the wave of walkouts and teacher strikes that have continued over the past two years.
CTU is seeking the end of the fact-finding process, which also took place in 2012 and 2015. In a response to the fact-finder’s report, CTU attorney Robert Bloch called it “a total failure in identifying possible terms for contract settlements.”
The union is also lobbying for an end to mayoral control, which was granted in 1995 under Mayor Richard M. Daley. A bill in the Illinois legislature that would return control of the district to an elected, representative school board passed the state House in April and is now in the Senate.