Negotiations continued Tuesday between Chicago city officials and the striking Chicago Teachers Union, as 350,000 Chicago children did not have school for a second day.
Despite an average teacher salary of more than $70,000, the union is still negotiating for more from the city. According to the New York Times, a number of issues remain unresolved:
Still, Mr. Vitale expressed optimism that an agreement was within reach, and school officials have said the only unresolved issues are how to evaluate teachers and whether teaching openings should automatically go to laid-off teachers. They say they have made significant concessions in contract talks, including what would amount to a 16 percent pay increase for teachers over four years.
But union leaders say there continues to be an array of differences, including benefits, raises based on experience level, the lack of air-conditioning in classrooms and training days for teachers. The school system faces what is projected to be a $1 billion deficit in the system’s operating budget next year.
Teacher evaluations, however, appear to be the most difficult issue to resolve.
CNN reported Monday that the city had offered teachers, in addition to the 16 percent raise over four years, paid maternity leave, short-term disability coverage, frozen health care costs for the majority of union members, and a limit (five) on the number of classes a teacher would teach.
Meanwhile, 350,000 children are not in school, as parents scramble to make arrangements. Several hubs have opened for working parents, according to the Chicago Tribune, where students can play sports and games in a safe place.
Chicago has faced a significant uptick in violent crime this year; the city’s murder rate is up 30 percent over last year.