I hate to say "I told you so," but after the Chicago Teachers Union strike against Chicago Public Schools last fall I wrote:
A district that expects to drain its reserve funds and is looking at a billion-dollar budget hole the year after this cannot afford across-the-board pay raises. ... Either CPS will need a bailout, or we can look forward to schools being closed and teachers laid off.
And now the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting:
Chicago Public Schools on Thursday announced the largest school shakeup in the nation: closing 54 schools and 61 buildings, jostling 30,000 kids and leaving the future of more than 1,000 teachers unclear.
I'm no psychic - this outcome was pretty obvious to anyone who understands how budgets work. CTU won pay raises totaling 17.6 percent (when annual steps are included), but those raises will come from a district that was staring at a $1 billion budget deficit. A school district with no money to spare and more expensive teachers really has only one option: contraction.