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Chicago school budget vote put off while teacher talks go on

Updated: August 25, 2012 6:08AM

The Chicago school board has put off a vote set for Wednesday on next year’s proposed budget until it reaches an agreement on its teachers’ contract, a spokeswoman said Monday.

“We are going to wait until August to allow for contract negotiations to continue because our budget outcomes will have to reflect those decisions,” schools spokeswoman Becky Carroll said.

Jackson Potter of the Chicago Teachers Union called the delay a good-faith effort by the district in ongoing negotiations.

“It’s common sense as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “This is an opportunity to stand away from the precipice and talk

about what are the ways in which we can get our schools back on track by investing in them.”

The school board and the CTU both rejected recommendations made by a fact finder last week that included double-digit raises for teachers but contained no provisions for job security.

The district is trying to close a $665 million deficit and an estimated $1 billion deficit a year from now, and school officials say they can’t afford the $330 million in raises recommended by the fact finder.

Chicago Public Schools had offered four years of two percent raises. The union sought 29 percent in raises to do the 20 percent more work next year under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s signature plan to lengthen the school day and year.

Union delegates said they want more job security, fearing the district’s growing use of “turnarounds” and school closings that displace good teachers through no fault of their own.

A record 90 percent of CTU members have authorized a strike if no deal on a contract is reached.

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