As Chicago Public Schools struggles for stability, contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS have stalled.
Here’s the latest:
CTU’s “big bargaining board” rejected the board’s latest four-year contract offer
CPS Chief Forrest Claypool responded by saying CPS will begin to cut $100 million from its budget
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said he’s trying to find a way for the state to take over CPS
WBEZ’s Melba Lara spoke to CTU President Karen Lewis about these latest developments.
On Claypool’s moving forward with cuts
“All of a sudden it’s hurry up hurry up, you have to get this agreement signed. And we always feel that’s the sign of a con artist. You know, all of a sudden you have to make a decision, make a decision right here right now.”
In response to Claypool saying that CPS doesn’t want to make these cuts
“I would hope they don’t want to do it because it would harm students, and I think they know that. But one of the problems I think that Mr. Claypool has is that he’s used to dealing with buses and trains and these are human beings. Completely different. “
On whether CTU would strike
Lewis said, “it depends.” If CPS imposes measures that haven’t been agreed upon before CTU declares an impasse (the point at which CTU and CPS agree that bargaining won’t bring anyone any further), then CTU has “the right to strike at that point. “
On the school district’s struggling finances
“It’s something we’ve been pointing out: How do you get a steady stream of revenue that will stabilize the district? Because constantly borrowing, the scoop and toss mentality, just doesn’t work. All we’re doing is kicking the can down the road and making it harder and harder to come to a real conclusion.”
On Governor Rauner’s statement that he’s preparing for a state takeover
“He doesn’t have a state budget so how’s he going to fix the finances in Chicago, unless he’s writing a check out of his big giant hedge fund money? If he does that, that would be great. But I’m not going to be holding my breath.”
Listen to CPS Chief Forrest Claypool’s response here.