Chicago Teachers Union demands $51K raise for average teacher

Chicago Teachers Union demands $51K raise for average teacher

Chicago Teachers Union contract demands would bring the average teacher’s salary to nearly $145K after cost-of-living adjustments and annual step increases. That’s $51K more atop the $43K union leaders have delivered since 2012.

If the Chicago Teachers Union gets its way with the mayor they helped elect, their next contract will boost the average teacher’s pay by half to $144,620 in the 2027-2028 school year.

The average now is $93,182.

Teacher pay rose more than $43,000 since 2012 – nearly triple the private-sector salary increase. If CTU’s demands are met, another $51,438 will be added to the average salary by the next contract – a 55.2% increase.

CTU is preparing to negotiate its next contract with the former employee they bankrolled into the mayor’s office – Brandon Johnson – along with his appointees on the Chicago Board of Education. Documents obtained by the Illinois Policy Institute show CTU is demanding the city give teachers a minimum 9% annual cost-of-living adjustment on their base salaries and replace multi-year “step” increases – raises based on experience – with increases each year. Teachers get annual increases in base pay, then step pay increases are added atop the base salary for additional years of service and additional education.

More than $38,000 of the potential increase comes because of the compounding 9% cost-of-living increases – the minimum amount in the CTU’s demands. An additional $13,000 in pay raises comes from annual “step” raises for seniority and education.

Massive pay increases would carry significant costs for the school district. COLAs alone would increase CPS expenses by more than $2.5 billion by fiscal year 2028. Annual spending on teacher salaries would increase from just under $2.6 billion in 2024 to more than $3.6 billion annually in 2028.

Teacher salaries have historically been one of the largest cost drivers of spending in the CPS budget. The increase in spending has not translated into better outcomes for students. Since 2012, spending has increased by 97%, but student proficiency in reading has declined by 63% and by 78% in math for grades 3-8.

Today, only 26% of third- through eighth-graders are proficient in reading. Less than 18% are proficient in math.

As student outcomes deteriorate and spending dramatically increases because of rising salaries and benefits, enrollment within CPS continues to decline. The militant bargaining tactics used too often by CTU leaders to get their demands met have not been in the best interests of CPS students and families – or taxpayers.

CTU has gone on strike twice – both during contract negotiations – and walked out on students three times since CORE took over union leadership in 2010.  In 2022, the union illegally walked out on students over COVID-19 protocols, giving parents just hours to scramble for a back-up plan after the union decided not to show up for in-person classes.

Now, as contract negotiations ramp up, CTU is poised to make large, radical demands for their next contract. Mayor Johnson, a former CTU lobbyist that the Chicago Teachers Union spent millions helping get elected, will be on the other side of the bargaining table along with a school board that he picked.

Where exactly does that leave Chicago taxpayers?

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