A Roadmap to Compromise for CPS

…right over Chicago’s taxpayers. If Joe Moreno doesn’t want more jobs in the 1st Ward, Mayor Emanuel has a solution ready at hand: hire more teachers! The first step on the road to a compromise between the mayor and the Chicago Teachers Union over longer work days and years for Chicago teachers in the form of hiring nearly 500 more teachers has been proposed as a solution to the impasse between the mayor and the CTU over the mayor’s plans for longer school days and years and the teachers’ demand for more pay:

Removing a major hurdle in the contentious contract talks with the teachers union, Chicago Public Schools agreed Tuesday to hire nearly 500 teachers so students can put in a longer school day without extending the workday for most teachers.

Both sides claimed victory, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel was able to keep his plan for a longer day intact and the union was able to add teachers while holding the line on how long they work.

But the two sides warned that several sticking points have yet to be resolved in the contract dispute, and the union said Tuesday’s agreement does not eliminate the threat of a strike.

“It is too bad this solution, which was actually presented months ago, was rejected out of hand” at that time, said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. “It has taken a march of nearly 10,000 educators, a strike authorization vote and a fact-finder’s report to get CPS to move on this issue.”

Emanuel called the agreement “a breakthrough” but said “there are a lot of other issues to still be resolved.”

What’s not to like? The solution allows the CTU’s leaders to declare victory for their members and provides an additional 500 dues-paying union members. The mayor avoids a strike and gets a minimally-increased school day.

Unfortunately, the Chicago Public School’s budget is already $665 million in the red and this plan would expand that deficit by at least $32 million with more red ink to come in the normal course of events. As I’ve mentioned before the CPS’s only real recourse is to increase property taxes. That amounts to $250 for every man, woman, and child in Chicago. In practice I strongly suspect it means at least $1,000 more in property taxes for every homeowner in the city. It’s not clear to me what that would be buying. Other than an opportunity for the mayor and the head of the CTU both to declare victory, I mean.

5 comments… add one
  • jan Link

    Whenever schools need more funding, it’s the property owners they hit on first. Some better school districts have kids enrolled, through all kinds of ruses, from outside of the area. And, still the monies are extracted from the property taxes from within the district.

  • And here in Illinois school districts have the power to raise property taxes untouched by human hands as it were. It doesn’t need to be voted on by the legislature, the county board, or any other elected official. Members of the Chicago Board of Education are appointed, not elected.

  • Icepick Link

    Members of the Chicago Board of Education are appointed, not elected.

    Awesome! A sinecure with no checks on the ability to raise money! I want that job! That would even be worth moving to Chicago for.

  • steve Link

    Would standing up to the teachers and letting them strike really hurt Emanuel? Would the voters punish him for doing so? Standing up to the unions in Philly cemented Rendell’s popularity in PA politics.


  • Would standing up to the teachers and letting them strike really hurt Emanuel?

    It’s hard to say. The last teachers’ strike in Chicago was in 1987. Harold Washington was mayor and, despite the fact that at the time the mayor had no responsibility for the Chicago Public Schools, he received considerable criticism. Washington died just a few months after the strike ended and, consequently, didn’t stand for re-election after the strike so we have little reference point for how it might have affected his run.

    The prevailing wisdom is that especially now that City Hall is responsible for the CPS a strike would be a disaster for any mayor. Rahm Emanuel has, essentially, no constituency, no base of support other than the Chicago Democratic Party organization. Ordinarily that would be enough but rats do have a way of deserting sinking ships.

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