CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union members are voting today on the new contract that ended their strike last month.
CTU president Karen Lewis is not giving any indication whether or not she has confidence that the contract will pass majority vote by the rank and file.
Teachers who spoke with WGN today say the mood in their schools has already changed.
"Just the fact that we were able to come together and come to an agreement, despite how long it took, we were still able to do it," said Clemente High School teacher Melissa Godinez. "So I think that shows promise in our relationship."
The vast majority of teachers at Clemente High School got their votes in at the start of the day.
The proposed contract is a 3-year agreement with a fourth year option. It gives teachers a 3% base salary increase next year, followed by 2% increases the next two years.
Among other things, the contract maintains Mayor Rahm Emanuel's longer school day and year initiatives, and it sets new guidelines for teacher evaluations tied to student test scores. It also gives principals the power to hire teachers.
CTU president Karen Lewis and school leaders say the 7-day teacher strike and the negotiations to get this deal have definitely changed outlooks.
"Our members are feeling much more empowered in their buildings, and that was one of the things we felt was absolutely necessary for us to move forward," Lewis told reporters today. "So people know that they have rights."
"Coming back from the strike, everyone was super excited to get back to kids and doing the work," said Clemente High School principal Marcey Sorensen.
According to CPS officials, the price tag for this new contract is $74 million. The big question is how will it be paid for, and that question has not yet been answered.
The School Board will vote on this contract on October 24.
Advocates of charter schools also have their own concerns about this contract. They are holding a rally tonight on the UIC campus to make sure that the new contract is not paid for by charter school budgets.