Chicago Teachers Union demands $1.7B for librarians, climate champions, gender support coordinators

Chicago Teachers Union demands $1.7B for librarians, climate champions, gender support coordinators

The Chicago Teachers Union demanded each of the 623 Chicago schools hire multiple new positions, including librarians, climate champions and gender support coordinators. Even nearly empty schools would be required to hire these extra staffers.

The Chicago Teachers Union wants at least one librarian and librarian’s assistant in each of Chicago’s 623 schools, even in Douglass Academy High School where there are only 35 students.

They also want climate champions, gender support coordinators and a total of 4,650 new positions at a cost of $1.7 billion. That’s on top of what Chicago Public Schools already spends to employ current teachers, staff and administrators – an amount driving a projected $391 million deficit in the coming school year.

In the case of Douglass Academy High School, the demands would add at least eight staff members to their current roster of 23 full-time employees – 31 staffers to educate only 35 students.

Douglass Academy is not the only severely underpopulated school. Over half of the seats in one-third of Chicago Public Schools are empty.

CTU has shown it prioritizes union jobs and dues money more than student outcomes. Forcing these new positions on nearly empty schools is more evidence of CTU’s militant self-interest.

CTU costly demands include additional staff in every school, regardless of enrollment

CTU’s leaked demands include mandates for new staff members at every school, regardless of enrollment. Some schools with larger enrollment could have more than one of some positions.

The new positions include: librarian, librarian assistant, social worker, newcomer liaison, case manager, restorative justice coordinator, reading specialist and interventionist (elementary schools), three elective teachers (middle schools), technology coordinator, “climate champion,” and gender support coordinator and/or LGBTQ+ lead/specialist and option to expand LGBTQ+ faculty support teams at each school.

Because of the minimum staffing requirements laid out in the contract, this would constitute a minimum of 4,650 new hires. Based on the current average compensation for each type of employee, hiring the additional personnel would cost an estimated $1.7 billion.

The new staff plus other demands that can be estimated total between $10.2 billion and $13.9 billion, but many other demands without clear price tags could add billions more. CTU president Stacy Davis Gates might not have been joking when she said the new contract would cost “$50 billion…and 3 cents.”

While nearly three-quarters of students in CPS can’t read or do math at grade level, CTU leadership is pushing a lengthy list of costly demands. Many of these demands don’t impact learning in the classroom, such as housing for migrant students, subsidies for weight-loss surgery and drugs, and environmental initiatives such as an electric school bus fleet. District spending keeps expanding rapidly as academics continue to drop, meaning money is failing to improve learning within the dysfunction forged by CTU.

Chicagoans and CPS parents are already concerned about “students not learning enough academically” in CPS. CTU seems determined to get its expensive demands regardless of what it does to students’ futures or Chicago taxpayers.

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