Teachers Say CPS Bully Tactics is an Act of War
The Chicago Teachers Union headed up by Karen Lewis said that the Chicago Public Schools’ Tuesday announcement to cut $100 million in spending and staff, was an attempt to bully teachers after the union rejected a contract offer.
Union leaders said the school district’s move was “the latest act of war” in contract negotiations that have dragged on for 14 months, one that could see 1,000 teachers laid off and ratchet up tensions with union members that last year overwhelmingly supported a strike.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said contract negotiations would continue but without a deal the cuts were needed to build confidence in CPS finances as the district on Wednesday resumes the process of selling $875 million in bonds to close yawning gaps in school funding. The district last week stalled the bond sale, purportedly to give investors more time to evaluate the district.
“This is something I’d hoped to avoid at all costs,” Claypool said. “We’ll do our very best to prevent teacher cuts, and we’ll work with schools to keep class sizes small and prevent mid-year disruptions.”
“We would be thrilled to rescind it if we get a deal,” Claypool said at Tuesday’s news conference. “We really believe the contract we’ve put into place is the foundation of an agreement.”
In keeping with the Union leaders stance that the CPS move was meant to bully teachers was the letter sent by Claypool to the union Tuesday said that within 30 days, CPS would stop paying the teachers’ share of pension contributions, order school administrators to cut $50 million through layoffs and re-shuffle $50 million that goes toward general education funding to schools.
Union President Karen Lewis said the union would file an unfair labor practices complaint with the state if CPS makes any of the moves announced Tuesday.