Emanuel: Kids got 'the shaft' while CPS teachers got raises

June 16, 2011

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(AP/M. Spencer Green)
Emanuel says Chicago Public Schools students "got the shaft" while union teachers got pay raises.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has some tough talk for the Chicago Teachers Union. The union is vowing to challenge the school board's decision to skip scheduled teacher pay raises this year in order to cope with a more than $700 million budget deficit.

Emanuel said Thursday that even if Chicago Public Schools teachers miss out on their four percent pay bump this year, many could still get automatic raises based on how long they've been teaching and any advanced degrees they've earned. The mayor said teachers have received the wage raises since 2003, but suggested that hasn't improved things much in classrooms across the city.

"Teachers got two types of pay raises. And people in public life got labor peace," He said. "Can anybody explain to me what the children got?" Later, the mayor was more to the point: "Our children got the shaft."

Emanuel's administration says the district could save $100 million by foregoing teacher pay raises this school year. That would be a boon for the district's estimated $712 million budget deficit.

The teachers union has said the district is refusing to honor its commitment by backing out of the raises, and it's choosing to fight the decision.