Chicago (AP) — Members of the Chicago Teachers Union overwhelmingly have approved a new three-year contract that includes pay increases and a new evaluation system, union officials announced late Wednesday.
Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said the contract was ratified by 79 percent of the union’s membership. The contact was ratified by a vote Tuesday of 16,428 to 4,337. The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet later this month.
“This shows overwhelming recognition by our members that this contract represents a victory for students, communities and our profession,” said CTU President Karen Lewis in a statement. “Our members are coming out of this with an even greater appreciation for the continued fight for public education. We thank our parents for standing with their children’s teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians.”
Teachers walked off the job Sept. 10, idling 350,000 students in the nation’s third-largest school district for seven days before the union’s delegates agreed to suspend the strike and return to classes, pending the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called the settlement “an honest compromise” that “means a new day and a new direction for the Chicago public schools.”
The contract includes 3 percent raises in its first year and 2 percent for two years after that, along with increases for experienced teachers. There also is an option of another 3 percent raise if teachers agree to a fourth year of the contract.
The school district also agreed to reduce the percentage of teachers’ evaluations based on test scores, down from a proposed 45 percent to the 30 percent set as the minimum by state law. It also includes an appeals process to contest evaluations. The district will be required to give some preference to teachers who are displaced, and will maintain a pool of qualified teachers with the goal of filling half of all new positions with displaced teachers.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)