The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for raises amounting to 30 percent over the next two years, the opening salvo in heated contract negotiations with school officials who are implementing a longer school day across Chicago Public Schools next school year.
Documents obtained by the Tribune show that in the face of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's expansion of the school day, the union has led with an offer seeking a 24 percent raise in the 2012-13 school year and a 5 percent increase the following year, the net effect being 30 percent.
It may be playing hardball, or it could be, as one education expert described it, an "exorbitant offer" that ignores the district's growing financial constraints.
The proposal also calls for reducing elementary school class sizes from 28 to 23 students and shrinking class sizes in the upper grade levels from about 31 students to 23.
However, the proposed wage increase is in line with the 27 percent salary hike union leaders said months ago would be the fair raise for extending their workday. The contract proposal also includes other incremental salary boosts such as those granted for adding a year of experience, referred to as a "step" increase, and for getting credits beyond a bachelor's degree, referred to as a "lane" increase, provisions that are in the current contract.