Chicago School Board Files Lawsuit to End Teacher Strike

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According to the Chicago Tribune , a lawsuit on behalf of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was filed in county court Monday in order to require teachers to quit their strike and head back to the classrooms. A court injunction has been mentioned numerous times since Chicago teachers hit the picket lines a week ago and CPS officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have said teachers and students should be in school while contract negotiations between the city and the union continue. However, the lawsuit filed Monday doesn't mean that school is immediately in session.

Here are some facts and details about the lawsuit filed Monday and where the union and the school board are in their talks:

* The Chicago Sun-Times reported that despite the lawsuit being filed Monday morning, Cook County Judge Peter Flynn said that the earliest a hearing would take place is Wednesday though there was no reason given for the delay.

* CPS hoped that students would be back in the classroom on Tuesday, but with the legal schedule and another union vote set to take place tomorrow, it is likely the earliest time would be Wednesday.

* CPS' lawsuit is specifically requesting a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the strike and require teachers to go back to their jobs during negotiations.

* A tentative deal was reached Sunday, but union delegates decided not to end the walkout, noted CNN .

* Mayor Emanuel has gone so far as to call the strike "illegal" and a recent statement made by the district echoed this by saying, "State law expressly prohibits the CTU from striking over non-economic issues, such as layoff and recall policies, teacher evaluations, class sizes and the length of the school day and year. The CTU's repeated statements and recent advertising campaign have made clear that these are exactly the subjects over which the CTU is striking."

* CBS Chicago added that even though a tentative deal was reached, union delegates wanted to take additional time to review the proposal and discuss it with individual teachers since teachers would have to vote for the agreement before it is put in place.

* CTU president Karen Lewis said it's "not a good deal" and "This is the deal we got. This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination. Not to what our members are compared to having."

* The tentative deal, which covers three years, details some major sticking points like having student growth account for 25 percent of teacher evaluations for the first and second years of the contract, followed by 30 percent in the third year, and 35 percent in the fourth year, noted another article from the Chicago Sun-Times .

* Similarly, the layoff order will be determined by teacher performance, with "unsatisfactory" teachers being fired first.

* School principals still have the full authority over teacher hires but highly rated teachers will have the chance to move along with their students if their school is closed or consolidated.

* As for wages, the first year will have a 3 percent pay increase and the second and third year with have a 2 percent pay increase.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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