CTU Calls for Mass Rally Amid CPS Announcement of CUTS

With the reality of cuts to schools fast approaching, the Chicago Teachers Union plans to protest the nearly 1,000 cuts threatened by the district. At Walter Payton HS, those cuts could result to approximately 4.4 positions down from the initial projection of 12 positions when the district threatened to layoff 5,000 positions by second semester.

Midday, the Chicago media was informed of a CPS press conference in response to the Chicago Teacher Union’s (CTU) decision to reject CPS’s latest contract offer. Many were surprised that the infamous “Big Bargaining Team” rejected the offer after CTU President Karen Lewis said it was a “serious offer” to consider.

By strategically leaking CPS CEO Claypool’s letter to the CTU President prior to CPS’s press conference, no one was surprised by the announcement of a $100 million budget reduction to schools in the coming weeks, a reduction that would result in 1,000 positions being cut. CEO Claypool outlined CPS’s intention to no longer “pick up” teacher pension payments. For some teachers, this means a $700 monthly pay cut. Claypool said, “we [CPS] don’t want to do this. [However] we can no longer delay.”

Minutes after the CPS press conference, CTU held their own press conference, in response. CTU President Karen Lewis said the latest contract offer was only “layering debt upon debt.”

She blamed the contract’s language and how there lacked a “political commitment” attached to its promises.

CTU considers CPS’s announcement an “act of war” and that its members “won’t be bullied.”

CTU President ended the press conference in announcing a “mass rally” to be held Thursday at 4:30 at the Bank of America downtown. This will be after CTU closes all accounts with Bank of America [scheduled for Wednesday]. Bank of America is the bank from which CPS and the city refuse to recover more than $400 million dollars from toxic swaps.

Principals will be briefed within 24-48 hours by their Network Chiefs with more info. However, there is no set timeline regarding cuts.

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