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A Chicago teacher hits his head for another week, with no end in sight. Here's what's at stake



The Chicago Teachers Union and city employees negotiated on the weekend but could not reach a deal. So no one knows when 25,000 teachers in the country's third-largest school district will return to school.

"These negotiations must move faster so that we can get students back to school as quickly as possible," says Mayor Lori Lightfoot .

"Our team revolves around deliberate, fast-paced counterforms. We hope CTU will meet that pace … so that we can bring this process to a fair and responsible end."

The mayor and public schools in Chicago say it's simply not realistic to fund everything the union wants.

"CPS is not flooded with money," the mayor said. "The fact is, there is no more money. Period."

"Tragedies waiting to happen"

Teachers in Chicago say they are struggling with students who often face difficult challenges.
About 75% of their students qualify for a free or reduced lunch. In some neighborhoods, gangs and violence are sweeping the streets, forcing children to grief at a very young age.

Nine out of 1

0 schools with black children have no librarians and there are not enough bilingual teachers in an area that is "nearly half Latinx," the union said.

And many schools do not have a full-time nurse.

(just) just tragedies waiting to happen because we don't have enough staff in our schools, "says nurse Dennis Kossuth to CNN affiliate WLS.

Last year, Kossuth had to split his time between six schools.

"It was impossible to provide me with the care I wanted to give to mine they students, "he said.

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This year he works at three different schools. "But I'm still so busy."

Hiring more social workers, counselors, nurses, bilingual teachers and librarians is only part of the union's demands.

Teachers also ask for smaller class sizes, higher pay for all school staff, and more teacher preparation time during the school day.

More than 41,000 students in Chicago elementary school are trying to take classes with 30 or more students, the union said. Of these, 5,290 are in class with at least 35 students.

And from grades from elementary to high school, CTU said, some classes have more than 40 students.

Little progress

"We will also ensure that every school has a full-time nurse by 2024," CPS says.

He stated that he would hire 200 more social workers and special education leaders for the schools of greatest need over the next three years.

The veteran teacher's assistant makes less than $ 30,000 a year and needs to work with other jobs.
The latest CPS proposal will also raise the salaries of teaching assistants, nurses and clerks every year in the coming years. five years.

But the challenge is not only to fund these new positions – it is to find enough quality candidates.

"Social workers, nurses, counselors and other such jobs are difficult to hire," says the school district. "The pool of applicants is limited and recruitment is competitive."
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Last month, the union requested "CPS hire more than 1,000 new employees by October 1, 2019 in several hard-to-find specialties," the school district said.

"The (union) proposal also requires the hiring of approximately 3000 employees over the next two years at a cost of over $ 800 million. Even if CPS could realistically afford such a commitment, it would be nearly impossible to meet those tenants' goals. "

After lengthy negotiations on Saturday, the teachers union declared that both sides were coming to an agreement – but the detention points remained .

"We have preliminary agreements on eight different positions – two in particular, in my opinion, are huge," said CTU Vice President Stacey Davis Gates.

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"The other thing that is huge is that we have a paper (school) moratorium effectively throughout the contract period."

While many parents have joined teachers on picket lines, some are against the strike.

"For me, this is a whole distraction and interruption until the school year," says Liam Boyd, a fourth-grade dad at Blaine Elementary School.

"I do not support the union. I think the school district and the city were fairer this time and (are) trying to be fairer. "

Union President Jesse Sharkey said he had two children in the school district.

"We understand that the strike is a disturbance for the city's parents," Sharkey said. "It is worth a brief interruption if this puts the conditions that improve education in this city in the long run."

Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.


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