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  • Chicago Teachers Union Urges Mayor To Implement Its Revenue Recovery Package
    Posted On: May 09, 2016

    By JoAnne Powers, May 10, 2016

    The Chicago Teachers Union says it has a $502 million Chicago Public Schools revenue recovery package that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council should implement.  CTU's Jackson Potter:

    [Jackson Potter]: "They've painted a picture where either teachers suffer draconian cuts and classrooms see their budgets slashed or Springfield comes to the rescue. And there's no other alternative besides those two pathways to the following school year. And what we've contended in our revenue package , our recovery package , is there are in fact alternatives. They are misrepresenting reality.  In fact, the city does have home rule authority.  The municipal code allows the Mayor and the City Council to make emergency decisions that can raise revenues in a pinch.  They should resort to the kind of powers that are in their grasp to save our school system and defend public education.”

    Chicago schools and other social services in Illinois are facing a severe economic squeeze as the administration of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner refuses to take budget action.  The CTU’s Revenue Recovery Program proposes a wide array of revenue sources the city could tap into to fund schools, including over a hundred million dollars in surplus from the Tax Incremental Financing Program as well as various corporate taxes:

    [Jackson Potter]: “As usual, the mayor has passed the buck, literally and figuratively, claims that he can’t tax Chicagoans even more when the state has not fulfilled its obligation.  What we disagree with is his characterization that he is powerless unless he gets that relief from the capital and the legislature.  He, of course, is trying to protect his wealthy friends and avoid taking an unpopular medicine for a painful situation.”

    CTU and the district have been in negotiations for over a year on a new labor contract for teachers.  The union’s membership has authorized a strike, and a strike date could be set as early as next week if the city does not take steps to address school funding:

    [Jackson Potter]: “We’ve told the mayor and his CEO of schools that if they unilaterally attempt to impose mass layoffs, cut our salaries or do other provocative things, we will exercise our right to strike.  The City of Chicago owes it to school children and the communities they come from to come up with an emergency plan so the schools can avoid catastrophe.  Some nasty cuts to the schools would make learning and teaching difficult, if not impossible, in many places.  And, we cannot allow that to happen.  I believe our members would be compelled morally and intellectually to probably schedule a strike in the near future.    We hope that won’t be necessary.  We hope that the mayor will weigh his options carefully, advocate to do the right thing, and fund our schools.”

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