A story in Sunday's Tribune reported that CPS' average teacher salary is $69,000, citing figures from the Illinois State Board of Education. But CPS figures show the average for teachers' salaries is $73,853 and our median salary — half of teachers make more and half of teachers make less — is $77,885.
The deal that we reached with CTU leadership in January would have secured healthy raises and increased that base salary by an additional 14 percent on average. This means that CPS would provide a raise that increases our average salary considerably — giving teachers a raise that they deserve, for the hard work that they have done and the remarkable results Chicago students are achieving.
When the dust settles from the ongoing contract negotiations, CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union's leadership will have inked a deal that follows this formula: pays Chicago teachers more, secures their pensions, treats taxpayers fairly and, most important, gives our students a strong education to keep making progress.
After we have finalized a contract, it will become critical to work together to reform education funding in Illinois, the worst state in the country for funding the education of low-income students — the very students who need their state's support the most.
This is precisely why the mayor and CPS worked tirelessly in the last year to address the unjust funding system that exists in Illinois and secure more than $600 million in additional resources from Springfield — and Chicago taxpayers.
Unfortunately, all of that funding has gone to pay for the $733 million annual teacher pension payment this year. CPS is alone in the state in its obligation to make this payment; other districts have the luxury of the state paying their teacher pension contributions so they don't have to choose between pensions, raises and classrooms.
In the long run, the most important piece of the puzzle is holding the state accountable to its constitutional promise to deliver on the primary responsibility for supporting an equitable education for all its students.
— Forrest Claypool, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools