The Chicago Teachers Union 2019 Contract Deal

The Chicago Teachers Union leadership address the media at City Hall on Oct. 31 after the teachers strike was called off. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
The Chicago Teachers Union leadership address the media at City Hall on Oct. 31 after the teachers strike was called off. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

The Chicago Teachers Union 2019 Contract Deal

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Highlights from the Chicago Teachers Union 2019 tentative contract agreement


  • Five years, ending June 30, 2024.


  • $2 million to develop a nurse pipeline; another $500,000 to recruit and train other clinicians

  • Beginning this year, the school district will start phasing out privatized nurses with the goal of eliminating the use by the end of the contract.

  • School district agrees to recruit and hire 209 more social workers and 250 more nurses by July 30, 2023.

  • District agrees to hire more special education case managers so schools with more than 105 special education students have at least one case manager and those with more than 240 students have two.

  • District agrees to hire more English Language Learner coordinators so schools with more than 150 English Language Learners have a full time one and those with more than 600 have two. Also, teachers can earn stipends for taking on the duties of coordinators in schools with fewer ELL students.

  • District agrees to provide 120 high needs schools, as determined by a joint school district-union committee, will get one additional position. (30 a year for four years)

  • A committee will be formed to provide oversight of the posting and hiring to reach targets for social workers, nurses and case managers. This committee shall enforce the staffing provisions.

  • Schools with more than 75 homeless students get a school community representative; those with 140 or more get two; those with less get liaisons who get stipends

Class size

  • Class size will be enforced by a joint school district and union committee that will include educators and district administrators; the council will make final and binding decisions.

  • High-need, priority schools will get automatic remedy if kindergarten and primary class sizes have more than 36 students; if intermediate classes have more than 39 students and high school classes have seven students more than limit.

  • Third grade classes with 32 or more students will get a teacher assistant (kindergarten, first and second grade classes already get a teacher assistant, per the last contract).

  • The school district will provide $35 million to reduce class sizes.

Special education

  • Protects the special education IEP’s (individualized education program) team’s decisions and ensures that CPS… decisions shall be made solely by the IEP team.

  • The principal must tell the special education teams how much money they have to spend for resources and materials.

  • Provides $2.5 million a year, up from $500,000, for workload relief.

  • Teacher assistants get to work one-on-one with students over the summer.

Substitute teachers

  • Substitutes can achieve cadre status (they get health insurance) if they work on average of three days a week.

  • Cadre subs must accept all assignments in any and every school.

  • Substitute teachers will be paid at a higher rate at high needs schools.

  • Teachers with special education training get to work in special education classrooms.

  • Substitute teachers get lunch.

  • Cadre subs in geographic regions that have trouble getting substitutes get paid more.

  • In principle, teachers should not be asked to cover the classrooms of absent teachers and special education teachers should be the last to be called to cover colleague classrooms.

  • Substitutes will be provided with an improvement process before they are dismissed


  • Teachers and staff will get 3% salary increases in 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022; and 3.5% salary increases in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.

  • The school district agrees to $5 million a year for annual experience increases for veteran teachers, but does not say how that will be divided

  • Starting salaries of PSRPs (office clerks and teacher assistants) will be between 5% and 9% higher.

Sanctuary schools

  • The school district won’t let ICE agents into schools without verifying credentials and requiring a criminal judicial warrant by a federal judge.

  • The school district will not let agents onto campuses with administrative warrants. For employees, the school district won’t ask for any additional proof of citizenship beyond what is required by law.

  • The school district will put aside $200,000 to help employees navigate the citizenship process and will give employees 10 days off one time during their employment to attend citizenship appointments or hearings.

  • If an employee does get fired because of immigration status, the board will see it as a leave of absence and, once issue is resolved, they can return and not lose seniority.

Bilingual education

  • The school district will form a bilingual committee to address areas of need.

  • The school district will provide professional development for bilingual teachers.

  • Principals must tell bilingual teachers how much they will get for supplies.

  • The school district will pay half the tuition of bilingual teacher at partner universities.

Charter schools

  • Agrees there will be no growth in the total enrollment at charter schools for the five years of the agreement.

Odds and ends

  • Ensures continued funding of $10 million for sustainable community schools. Currently there are 20. A joint union-school district committee will evaluate the programs and decide if more schools should participate or fewer. Community schools get money to offer wraparound services for students and families during and after school, such as medical care, adult education classes and home visit programs.

  • All full-day preschool classes should have nap time.

  • Preschool teaching assistants cannot be pulled away to substitute or cover the cafeteria or recess.

  • No privatization of clinicians, teachers assistants or librarians.

  • Committees created: to ensure teacher evaluation is fair; to monitor and make recommendations to improve racial diversity; a bilingual education committee; a committee to look at PSRP (office clerks and teacher assistants) evaluations.

  • Provides that teachers and staff have access to clean bathrooms during the school day.

  • The school district is promising to engage in a process to review the way it funds and rates schools.