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Tentative Agreement FAQ


Will National Board Certified Teachers continue to get an annual stipend? I do not see it in the tentative agreement.

Yes, NBCTs will receive their annual stipend with a 3% increase this school year, a 2% increase the following year, a 2% increase the next year, and a 3% increase if CTU should renew the contract for a 4th year.  This stipend will be prorated for teachers achieving National Board Certification this November.


Do we have to pay for the biometric scan that is the starting point for the Wellness Program?

No, there will be special centers throughout the city where we can obtain these tests at no cost. If a member chooses to go to his/her primary care doctor instead, the usual co-pay for an office visit will apply.

How often must we log in to the Wellness Plan website to maintain compliance?

We do not know the answer yet.

What are examples of the different things we can do and their ‘point value’? How many points per month must we earn? If we miss a point or two one month, will the penalty kick in immediately?

We are not sure of the exact point value. Examples of things we can do to comply include reading articles about health, logging exercise, and keeping a food diary.

Will our information be shared with the Board of Education?

No. Information about us as individuals will be confidential. The Board is bound by HIPPA laws and will only have access to aggregate information, not our individual personal data. The wellness program will be managed through a company called HealthWays, who will not share any information with CPS besides aggregate health data (i.e. 10% of employees have heart disease) and whether or not you have completed the wellness activities that count as participation.

How many members of the family must pay a penalty if we opt out of participation in the Wellness Program? How much is the penalty? Does this apply to children? If so, at what age?

No more than two adult family members (member and spouse/domestic partner) must participate. The penalty for non-participation is $50 per month for each adult. Per CPS, you will only be penalized after missing several log-ins. The maximum penalty per family would be $1200/annually. Children of adult members are not required to be part of the program at any age.

When must we join the Wellness Program?

The Wellness Program will begin in January 2013.

Will I be able to keep the sick days I have accumulated thus far and will they remain pensionable?

Yes you will keep them but you may not add more days to this bank. Unused sick days cannot be used to increase the amount of your pension, but those sick days already accumulated can be cashed out at retirement. Sick days can be used for service credit—which shortens the amount of time you need to work before retirement. You may accumulate up to 40 days which will be available to you if have a serious illness or disability.

Must I use my entire sick bank before going on disability? Can I continue to use sick days so that I receive full pay while I am out?

You only need to exhaust the 10 sick days you have received for the current year. If you wish to continue to receive 100% pay, you may use accumulated days. You will be able to extend the Short Term Disability (STD) leave by using your sick days.

What about my 3 PB days? Will they convert to sick days as in the past?

You will still receive 3 PB days but they will be “use it lose it” so they will no longer roll over into your sick day bank. You will receive them on a fiscal year basis just like sick days, not in January as in the past. This year you will get an extra 1.5 days to make up for the gap until July 1, 2013.

Won’t my principal penalize me in my rating if I use ‘too many’ of my sick days?

We have new language which specifically prohibits this problematic practice in the future.

What is the new short term disability plan?

You will be given 90 calendar days of sick leave. The first 30 days you will receive 100% of your pay. Days 31 to 60 you will receive 80%, and from days 61 to 90 you will receive 60% of your pay

Is deferred pay gone? If so, when?

CPS will no longer operate a deferred pay plan beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Your final check in June of 2013 will include the balance of any money owed to you. Members who wish to continue getting paid during the summer will be able to sign up for a personal deferred pay plan through a variety of major banks at no cost. More details to follow.

Why is the CPS moving to one unified academic calendar? Will it be more like Track E or Track R? When will it take effect?

We do not know exactly what the new calendar for 2013–14 will look like but CTU will be meeting with the Board after the contract is completed to discuss it.

Will members who worked summer school and Track E employees receive their raise retroactively to July 1, 2012?

Yes, our raises will be calculated back to this date and a retroactive check will be issued shortly after the contract is signed.

How will the Professional Development calendar change?

There will be some half-day PD’s. There will be no student attendance on report card pick-up dates.

How will PSRP layoffs and recalls be handled?

These will remain the same. They will be governed by Appendix I as is presently the case.

Will the criteria for PSRP evaluations be changed? Are they affected by test scores?

2012-13 Performance Ratings will be distributed at the beginning of the school year based on the prior year's evaluation. Private conferences with principals and Employee Relations shall be granted to dispute unsatisfactory ratings.

For 2013-14: The Board will adopt a new Evaluation Plan for PSRPs in conjunction with the CTU. A CTU PSRP Employee Evaluation Committee will be established.

What gains did we make for PSRPs?

PSRP’s will receive a 2% cost-of-living raise this year in addition to a 2% regular raise. Also, PSRP’s will only become SECA’s (Special Ed Classroom Assistants) if their job involves feeding and diapering of students.

What protection will teachers in closed or ‘turned around’ schools have? Will the reassigned teacher provisions remain the same?

This is one of the losses in this contract. Our members who lose their positions through no fault of their own will now get one semester in the reassigned teacher pool and one semester as a cadre. After that, they will become day-to-day substitutes.

What recall protections have we gained? Please Explain.

We have gained the right to follow our students whenever schools are closed or consolidated and positions open at the receiving school.

Also, teachers who are in the top two rating categories will go into a CPS eligibility pool. Half of all new hires must be from this displaced teacher pool. Other teachers can apply to enter the pool. Displaced teachers must be given a reason if they are not selected. There will be a citywide list of displaced teachers. If a teacher is not selected for any of the positions s/he applies for, that teacher will receive half a year at full pay/benefits and half a year as a cadre.

Teachers laid off at the 20th day will have full recall rights that year at their school. If a position is closed and a ‘twin’ position is opened that year at their school that displaced teacher will be placed in the new position. For teachers in the top two evaluation bands, they will be in a two year ‘recall pool’ which is a new benefit that enhances the likelihood of rehire.

How will this be enforced?

They have to interview, give a reason if they don't select you. There will be a central list. Those they didn't hire will get 10 months pay, half regular and half cadre. Those laid off from 20th day, full recall rights in school.

What is the length of this contract? Can it be extended?

This is a three year agreement which can be extended into a fourth year if CTU chooses to do so with an additional 3% raise payable in the fourth year.

What protections do we have for class size?

The Board wanted to take away all class size language which is based on Board policy. We succeeded in maintaining our class size committee and getting additional funds for class size enforcement. We also got the right to grieve class size violations for special education classes.

How is the $500,000.00 allocated under class size?

The class size monitoring committee which is made up of retired teachers and principals goes to schools and try to find solutions to overcrowded classrooms. We have won additional language to allow a parent rep from the affected school to also join the committee. This committee can use the money to hire additional PSRPs or teachers or find other solutions

What is the process for suspending the strike and approving (ratifying) the contract?

The House of Delegates has the authority to suspend the strike and recommends passage of the contract to the membership. The full membership votes the contract up or down. Traditionally, the document is ready for membership vote 3-4 weeks after the agreement is tentatively agreed upon by the Board and Union.

Will we be paid this Friday?

You will be paid as usual this Friday. Your next check will be short for the days we have been out on strike.

If a school closes or is turned around and personnel are displaced, can they receive unemployment?

Members can collect unemployment as long as they have not been fired for cause and are not earning any wages from CPS.

Will the DNH (Do Not Hire) list be eliminated?

The DNH list has already been eliminated except for those that are terminated for violations of the law and those that have been terminated for unsatisfactory ratings.

I’ve heard that there are no more suspensions? Is this true?

There will be no more suspensions without pay. Instead, members will serve ‘working suspensions’ during which they will be paid.

Will we still receive our ‘longevity days’?

Members who are on step 13 will continue to receive an additional sick day each year. Members on step 14 will receive a second additional sick day annually.

What are the evaluation procedures for this school year? What is meant by it being a ‘no stakes’ year?

Members will be evaluated, but their rating will not be counted for rating purposes until the 2013-14 school year.

Will evaluation by colleagues be in place?

Consulting teachers will be utilized as part of the evaluation process.

Who is the Joint Committee?

It is made up of members of CTU and Board representatives.

What will our teacher raises be under this contract?

The first year teachers will receive 3%. In years 2 and 3 of the contract, they will receive 2% annually. If the CTU opts for a 4th year, the raise will be 3%.

NOTE: Since the Board did not grant us the 4% raise last year, you need to use the 2010-11 salary schedule to determine what your step/lane salary was for last year.  The 2011-12 chart was no longer correct the day the Board decided to not fulfill the raises. Salaries paid last year were based on the 2010-11 chart, not the 2011-12 chart, so in the new TA the 3%, 2%, 2% are calculated based on what was actually earned last year. Click here to see the actual salary schedules.

Do displaced teachers receive health insurance?

This has not changed. Teachers in the Reassigned Teacher Pool receive their full benefits. Cadres receive their own single coverage but not couple/family insurance. Teachers can pay for COBRA coverage for 18 months after that.

What is the daily rate for cadres under the new contract?

Under the recently expired contract, cadre subs received $165.82 for the past two years. They will get a 3% raise for this year. And, we no longer have the ‘loophole’ in our contract that allowed CPS to deny us our 2011-12 raises.

Does this contract give librarians the extra prep time they need to process and shelve books?

The Board wanted to take librarian’s extra prep periods away but we succeeded in restoring two additional 64 minute preps for a total of 7 preps per week.

Can our principal mandate both grade level and full staff meetings every week?

Of the five elementary prep periods per week, only one is principal-directed. The principal can divide his/her hour between the two types of meetings or can hold them in alternating weeks. You cannot be required to give up an additional one of your self-directed preps for team or grade-level meetings.

What did we win through the strike with that benefits our students?

  • CPS must hire over 600 additional teachers in Art, Music, Physical Education and other subjects—helping to make the school day better, not just longer.
  • The contract would maintain limits on class size—pushing back Mayor Emanuel’s threats to remove all class size limits and crowd 55 students into a class. We also won a small increase in funding to decrease class size and were able to add a parent LSC member to the class size committee for every overcrowded school, giving teachers a way to continue organizing and fighting on this issue with parents as allies.
  • Needed textbooks will be available to students on the first day of school.
  • Promoted racial diversity in hiring at CPS—fighting the loss of African American teachers in Chicago’s schools.
  • Lowered the focus on standardized testing by beating the percentage of our evaluations from test scores down to the legal minimum. There will be more focus on teaching rather than testing.
  • Provides more attention to students from their school’s Social Workers and Nurses. New rules will lighten overburdened clinicians’ workloads
  • Provides a pool of funding for social workers, psychologists, Special Education teachers, classroom assistants and counselors in schools with high caseloads.

This is FAR from enough. The strike, unfortunately, is NOT the end of the fight for the schools Chicago’s students deserve. We will have to continue to work with parents, students and community organizations to demand all students have access to the arts, world language, gyms and libraries. Our contract alone cannot stop the Mayor’s plan to close over 100 schools or force the Board of Education to stop starving schools in low income neighborhoods by denying them air conditioning, libraries, playground facilities or the resources they need. We could not have won this strike without our allies in the community and we will need to keep working with them as we continue a struggle for Educational Justice in Chicago.

Who will be evaluated this school year?

Only PATs. They must be evaluated as part of the state tenure law. All teachers will be observed and given feedback on their practice.

How many times will we be observed?

PATs have formal observations at least three times and informal observations at least once. Tenured teachers have formal observations at least twice and informal observations at least twice.

What percent of our evaluations will be based on test scores?

In the current and following school year, observations will count 75% and student growth will count 25%. For the last year of the contract, observations will count 70% and student growth will count 30%. Of the student growth measures, no more than 15% can come from the value added measures on standardized tests, for the first two years, and no more than 20% in the last year of the contract.

What are the bands associated with evaluation?

To fall in the Unsatisfactory band, you will have fewer than 210 points (100 is the absolute minimum possible number of points). With 210 to 284 points, you fall into the Developing band. With 285 to 339 points, you fall into the Proficient band and higher than 340 (top is 400), you are in Excellent. They have divided the Developing band into two levels for purposes of layoffs only. The lower level of Developing, 210 to 250, can be laid off before the higher level of Developing, 251 to 284.

Where can I find more information about teacher evaluation?

With the exceptions of changes to the percentages per year, the fact that only PATs will be evaluated this year, and the bands described above, the teacher evaluation FAQs found on the CTU website are correct.

Can we encourage parents to opt out of standardized tests?  What does the Union formally recommend?

We have encouraged our members to pursue opt-out options with regards to testing. Our chair of the testing committee, Sharon Schmidt, has opted her children out and has a form that they created for that purpose. She can be reached at

If you have been held on a step for several years, would that apply?  Anything with salary applies?  Do you get back pay?

You would get back pay based on the new rates in the next contract after ratification.

How do steps and lanes work, especially 14-16?

Step 14 represents a member in years 14 to 19 of their career

Step 15 is years 20 to 24

Step 16 is years 25 and beyond

What does “progressive discipline” mean?  What is the protocol?

The employer cannot go to the most drastic disciplinary action immediately; they have to give warnings, and opportunities to alter behavior. The protocol is laid out in Article 3A of the new agreement. There are 4 steps and stages. Please reference that section once you receive the draft agreement.

Clarification:  Will PD days be self-directed?

We used to have 3 PD days; this is something that the Board will get back to us on. We are attempting to maintain 3. Two at the end of school are ½ self-directed and we are insisting that the one PD day at the beginning of the year is also self-directed.

Preps for Pre-K teachers and aides?

If pre-K teachers work a full day they get the same as Kindergarten teachers. Early child-hood is the same as elementary school. Subs will be provided if teacher assistants are absent for early childhood programs.

Clarify Models of school day:  What does this mean?  Can the school arrange their own day?  Can we build our own model?

We encourage the staff to discuss potential models with their principal. There will be 5 standard models of which principals, along with input from the PPC, will pick two for the staff to vote on.

Compensation for debate -- does that apply for only some specific afterschool programs?  Only academic?  Would ILT apply?

This is the after-school rate of pay, not ILT related work. However, if you are required to conduct work related to your teaching duties, after school, you would qualify for you instructional hourly rate of pay.

SPED not assigned any duties not related to SPED services.  Can we add in counselors too?

We will continue to advocate for appropriate duties for all our bargaining unit members.

Members shall not be required to exceed case loads, what are the “limits on the ratios?”

This is defined by the law. The workload committee will be formed in the near future to provide a means to challenge oversized case-loads and provide members with guidance on how to do that properly.

IEP meetings does this include the paperwork that continues after the meeting is over?

These questions will be addressed in detail once the case-load committee establishes protocols and procedures.

Committee will have access to 500,000 to help alleviate overcrowding. Who is the committee?

To be determine by the Board and the Union.

Maintained current rates for how many years? 

The duration of the contract. Three years.

Personal business days…When do they run out and renew?  One of our teachers only has 2 PB days on his pay stub for this year.

PB days accrue starting next year on July 1st, they will get three at that time. On January 1st, when they usually accrue you will get 1 ½ and three more in July, so you will have 4 ½ this year. They will be use them or lose them. They have removed the restriction on the use of PB days prior to vacation.

Selection Criteria:  How can we make sure the criteria is being followed?

We will have to monitor it. The union tracks all vacancies. If a member believes there are vacancies that or not properly posted, they should contact the union field representative immediately.

Teacher transfer…Do we still have the 2 periods during the year where no principal consent is needed?


What happens to unused sick days?

They can be banked into a bank of 40 days, after which time you will lose the ability to bank those days and lose them.

Donated sick days:  Is it 10 days total or can each employee donate 10 days to a person for a greater total?

10 days total annually per member to donate to another member, the person receiving the days can receive up to 45 days.

Under what circumstances can the days be donated?  Are there parameters?

The recipient must be suffering from a “serious medical condition and on an approved leave of absence.”

Do tardies and absences figure into teacher evaluations?

We will discuss what local school criteria is permissible with the joint board/union committee on evaluations. We have secured language that prohibits CPS from retaliation against our members for the use of contractually guaranteed benefit days.

How much of the 30% student growth will be test scores?   Can we make it as little as possible?  What other student assessment/eval can be used instead of test scores?  Can they be classroom-based assessments?

This is the state minimum. CPS wanted to make it up to 45% and we stopped them. There will be type III assessments as part of their test percentage that is a classroom based assessment developed and graded by teachers.

Every teacher shall have access during the school day to a functional computer…in their rooms or in the school in general?

In the school in general with the goal of making sure that every teacher eventually has a desktop.  

Union dues and PAC are not being deducted from our checks since we started back on Track E. 

They cannot be deducted until the contract is ratified.  The salary schedule is used to determine the rates.  Once the contract is ratified, the dues will be prorated.

Is the year longer and are we getting compensated?

Yes.  The raises do not cover the full amount of increased time.  3%, 2%, 2% plus steps.

What does it say in the new contract about teachers supervising recess duty?

Teachers are not supposed to supervise recess. 

Do school clerks receive the same pay raise as teachers? If a clerk is grade 9 will she be able to move to grade 10?

All  PSRPs will receive what amounts to a 4% raise, slightly higher than the teachers.   Clerks will receive more because they work 3 days longer than everyone else.  They will be paid their daily rate for those three days. 

With the wellness program…will there be any incentives like a discounted gym membership…at no cost to the Board, of course? 


Chicago Teachers Union