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CTU president suggests new teacher contract could cost taxpayers $50 billion

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(The Center Square) – The Chicago Teachers Union is preparing for collective bargaining talks with the city, and the union’s president suggested the new terms would cost taxpayers $50 billion.

“We are asking you to give us an opportunity to tell our story. It will cost $50 billion, and three cent,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said Tuesday at the City Club of Chicago this week, setting the stage for upcoming negotiations with the city. “And so what? That’s audacity.”

Some media outlets reported that Gates was “joking” when citing the $50 billion figure.

The CTU’s key proposals, a draft of which was leaked to the Illinois Policy Institute, include cost-of-living adjustments that meet or exceed inflation and money for teacher housing assistance in the city.

“They’re gonna say these are great proposals and can’t nobody pay for it and CTU with all of this, that and the other. And who’s gonna pay for it, Stacy? Stop asking that question,” Gates said.

Gates said the bargaining process will not be easy, even with CTU ally Brandon Johnson in the mayor’s office. The teachers’ union largely funded Johnson’s campaign last year.

“Brandon Johnson is not going to force every bureaucrat in CPS to like the CTU. It don’t happen that way,” Gates said.

The teachers’ union opposed Illinois’ Invest in Kids scholarship program, which allowed low-income students to attend private schools of their choice. Gates was among the most vocal critics of the program, despite sending her son to private school.

“I want soccer on the South Side of Chicago at a neighborhood school,” she said in defending her decision to send her son to a private school, which offers soccer when her local CPS school did not. “I do, and that’s not hypocritical. When it doesn’t exist and I find it anyway, that’s survival.”

The Chicago Teachers Union’s current collective bargaining agreement with the city expires in June. Gates said upcoming contract talks are about transformation.

The Illinois Policy Institute obtained a summary of proposals. Other items on the list include increased staffing, gender-affirming healthcare coverage, abortion coverage, and more queer competent trained service providers.