Nearly 350,000 public school students in Chicago went back to school on Wednesday after the Chicago teachers’ union ended their one-week strike Tuesday evening by tentatively coming to terms on a new contract agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The contract, which still must be ratified by the 29,000 teachers and support staff that make up the union, calls for 10 more school days a year and a single calendar for the school system.
According to CNN, teachers also agreed to a pay structure that would give them a “3% pay increase for the first year of the contract, 2% for the second year and 2% for the third year. If a trigger extends the contract to four years, teachers will get a 3% pay increase.”
In addition, teachers’ union members “would no longer be compensated for unused personal days, health insurance contribution rates would be frozen and the ‘enhanced pension program’ would be eliminated.”
Chicago's public school teachers also agreed to adopt an evaluation system based on the performance of their students on standardized tests. Teachers did not agree to adopt a merit pay system. According to the Chicago Tribune, the school district is still considering closing 120 of its schools.
The Chicago public school district is the third largest in the nation. This was the first teachers’ union strike since 1987. And the average salary for Chicago public school teachers is $67,974.