Talks were stalled over the terms of a 4-percent cost of living increase that was rescinded in June by the Chicago Board of Education due to budget concerns. Officials said it would save $100 million from the $712 million deficit at the time. The board, selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, approved six-figure salaries for five Chicago Public Schools executives a week later, which drew protests from union members.
The union pulled out of negotiations this week after school officials rejected an offer of a 2-percent increase in addition to other proposals.
Following the stalemate, Chicago Public School system officials on Tuesday went ahead and announced unilateral plans for a longer school day for the 2012-13 year, including a possible raise if teachers agreed to begin the longer hours this year. CPS officials' ability to act unilaterally—i.e. without union agreement—stems from an education reform law signed in May by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. The plan would extend the school day for an extra 90 minutes and an additional two weeks. Emanuel advocated extended school hours and days on the campaign trail, criticizing the country’s third largest education system for having one of the shortest school days compared to other metropolitan areas.