CTU leadership demanding green buses, carbon-free schools

CTU leadership demanding green buses, carbon-free schools

The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding a fleet of 100% green buses for Chicago Public Schools and other climate justice policies as part of its new contract demands.

The Chicago Teachers Union leadership has a series of climate justice demands, including a full fleet of electric school buses and establishing a timeline for carbon-free schools.

Demands such as average teacher raises of $51,000 are a small part of union demands that cover much more than wages and benefits. CTU President Stacy Davis Gates has said the 142 pages of demands could cost “$50 billion… and three cents.”

Some of the “climate justice” demands:

  • Implement a 100% electric bus fleet.
  • Install solar panels or arrays at 50 schools.
  • Start a pilot program to cut energy costs by 30% at schools by the end of the 2024-25 school year and make the district carbon neutral by 2035.
  • Establish an annual “climate and environmental justice week” with initiatives selected by the climate justice committee.
  • Create a clean energy jobs and green technology program with priority to schools located in “environmental justice communities.”

One electric school bus would costs $400,000 according to an estimate from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Environmental Protection Agency granted Chicago Public Schools more than $20 million to purchase 50 clean buses as part of its 2023 Clean School Bus Program Grants Competition.

But another $500 million would be needed to buy another 1,250 electric buses to fulfill CTU’s demand.

CTU contract negotiations with former co-worker Mayor Brandon Johnson and his appointees have already begun with the current contract ending June 30. Click here to read CTU leadership’s full list of demands.

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