Chicago Teachers Union cuts class to lobby, costing taxpayers up to $141K

Chicago Teachers Union cuts class to lobby, costing taxpayers up to $141K

Chicagoans could end up paying between $93K and $141K to cover the cost of substitutes for the roughly 650 Chicago Public School teachers and staff who lobbied lawmakers May 15 in Springfield.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s push to send about 650 teachers and staff members to lobby lawmakers May 15 in Springfield could cost Chicagoans up to $141,000 in substitute teacher salaries.

The 650 Chicago Public Schools teachers who left their students to lobby at the Statehouse May 15 were paid for their time. So were the substitute teachers needed to cover for them, costing taxpayers something between $93,000 and $141,000.

The true price tag comes down to which type of substitutes the district had to use to keep classrooms running with teachers absent. Day-to-day substitute teachers in Chicago Public Schools typically make $143.43 per day.

But cadre subs, essentially full-time substitute teachers, earn $217.43 per day. Exactly how many of each the district had to call on is unknown.

It was also unclear whether the district had enough substitutes to cover for all the absent teachers.

An internal memo shows Chicago Teachers Union leadership urged members to use this “release day” on May 15 to leave their students and lobby lawmakers for $1.1 billion more from state education funds.

“If we’re going to get what we need, we must push for it. We need you to come to Springfield with us next Wednesday, May 15, to advocate for more school funding,” the email read.

Teachers can partake in political advocacy on their own time, but this day of action occurred during regular school hours and at taxpayer expense. It doesn’t help that most of the students they left behind are unable to read or do math at grade level, and could have benefitted from a normal day of instruction.

Chicago Public Schools has seen steady budget growth combined with dwindling enrollment. CPS’ per-pupil operational spending is $24,132, up more than 50% from $15,878 in 2018.

CTU held a similar event with students during the March 19 primary election when they took students out of class to hear from proponents of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s real estate transfer tax hike, were told how to vote and then marched to the polls. The tax hike failed.

May 15 also marks one year since Johnson took office. Since CTU successfully funded Johnson’s bid for city hall, he has served as their biggest champion. Johnson was a CTU employee and has filled city hall with his CTU cronies.

CTU urging teachers to leave kids at school to tell lawmakers they need more money is really about finding the cash for their 142-pages of contract demands. The contract they are seeking this summer includes average teacher raises of $51,000, plus social justice, housing and environmental policy changes CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said could cost “$50 billion… and three cents.”

Johnson himself made a visit May 8 to Springfield after demanding over $1 billion he claims is owed to Chicago Public Schools. Instead of handing Johnson more state money, lawmakers are working to cut $800 million from the state budget.

Johnson appointed a majority of the school board and is now negotiating the new CTU contract with his allies. If he gives in to his friends’ demands, taxpayers can expect a hefty bill to follow.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!