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Monday, September 24, 2012

Education Nation: How Will Chicago Pay For Strike Deal?

From the Education Nation section of our local NBC affiliate:
How much will the new contract cost? Pay raises and hiring nearly 500 new teachers to implement the longer school day has a higher price tag -- as high as $295 million -- that some say could lead to higher property taxes.

The mayor, though, avoided specifics.

"We have other tough things to do," he told reporters. "I never denied that we did have tough things to do, but I can't sit here and say within the first five minutes of this contract being negotiated, that I could tell you exactly what's going to happen four or five months from now."

Chicago Public Schools said "all options are on the table" to make up for new money being spent. Teachers won a 3 percent raise in the first year followed by 2 percent raises in years two and three. The 2015 board must let the union know if it has the money for a fourth year 4 percent raise.

Teachers lost sick day payouts, severance adjustments and reduced layoff benefits. Ten holidays were reduced to eight.

Without pension relief, CPS could be looking at a deficit of up to $1 billion.

Emanuel reportedly is considering increases to the city's 68-cent-a-pack cigarette tax and the 9 percent amusement tax as a way to make up for the budget shortfall. His office has maintained he is not considering property tax hikes.

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