Springfield Legislative Session Conclusion | Chicago Teachers Union
Springfield’s spring legislative session is now over – and CTU’s legislative agenda has advanced significant improvements and protections for CTU members, students, and the families we serve. This year had already been a huge success in the legislature – we overturned part of the horrific Chicago School Reform Act of 1995 and reinstated our bargaining rights in January – and we’ve built on that success over the years. of the session just ended, including moving to an elected representative school board for Chicago at the Threshold of the Law. Below are the CTU priorities we won, along with the efforts we supported with lawmakers and allied organizations.
Representative school board elected. Thanks to the work of thousands of people – including members of the GEM coalition – we are moving closer to an elected representative school board. The Illinois State Senate passed HB 2908 which creates a fully elected school board by 2026 and includes a three-year moratorium on school closures until 2024. The bill will revert to the Illinois House of Representatives for approval, and the House sponsor has already said she supports the bill and will put it to a vote. Huge thanks to Representative Delia Ramirez, Senator Rob Martwick, Speaker of the House Chris Welch and Speaker of the Senate Don Harmon for their leadership. And a big thank you to all the WCB members who have helped move the bill forward so far.
State budget : The state budget for 2021-2022 adds $ 350 million to the statewide schools funding formula, with about $ 60 million in new funding for CPS. These additional funds support our contract earnings – like additional nurses and social workers – which we won in the 2019 contract and will be critical for recovery from the pandemic.
We have made significant progress on evaluations. HB 18 walks up to the governor. It extends the evaluation period for incumbent staff rated competent / excellent to 3 years instead of 2 years (this was a contract request from the 2019 contract wrestling).
Our members in contracted schools will have pension equity. SB 2093 was passed overwhelmingly by both houses and adds teachers from contract schools (including CTU members at ChiArts HS) to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund after years of unfair exclusion.
CAT worked with the Raise Up Illinois coalition of local organizations and unions to increase incremental revenues to fund vital services and programs in Illinois. Our victory came from closing a loophole that allowed wealthy corporations to hide their income in offshore accounts and avoid paying taxes in Illinois. This provision is a key part of the state budget for next year and has helped prevent budget cuts.
Initiatives supported by CTU
- The CTU, in coalition with Illinois unions, has supported SJRCA 11, a constitutional amendment to ban “right to work” laws in Illinois that will go to state ballot in 2022.
- CAT supported the passage of SB 818, the Youth Safety and Health Act, a complete and age-appropriate rewrite of sexual health and education. The CTU Women’s Rights Commission played an important internal and external role in advancing the bill.
- CTU supported SB 654, the Right to Play Act, which establishes a mandatory daily play time of 30 minutes for students in Kindergarten to Grade 5.
- CTU supported the Grow Your Own Teachers program budget for the 2021-22 school year. GYO is a program that provides a path and funding for school employees, often PSRPs and primarily black and brown school employees, to become teachers.
- In line with our support for Black History, Latinx History, Women’s History, and LGBTQIA history, CTU has supported HB 376, which demands that Asian American history be part of school programs from the 2022-2023 school year.
- CTU has supported HB 40 which allows special education students to stay in school until the end of the school year if they are 22 instead of being forced out of school at their 22sd birthday.