Chicago’s public school system and its teachers union reached a tentative contract deal late Monday, averting a strike scheduled to begin on Tuesday, union officials said.
The agreement, which the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will take to its 28,000 members, prevents the third work stoppage in five years for teachers in the third largest public school system in the United States.
Teachers, who were set to go on strike at midnight on Monday if an agreement had not been reached, have been working without a contract for more than a year. The contract that ended the 2012 strike expired on June 30, 2015.
“We ended up with something that’s good for kids, it’s good for paraprofessionals, it’s good for teachers, for the community,” said Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
The school system is grappling with escalating pension payments that will jump to $720.2 million this fiscal year from $676 million in fiscal 2016, as well as credit ratings that have fallen into the junk level, drained reserves, and debt dependency.
The school system, which is independent of the city, had a $7 million deficit in its operating funds on June 30, according to a school financial report.
(Reporting by Renita Young; Editing by Nick Macfie and Michael Perry)