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INCS Statement on CTU’s Call for Strike at CICS

Posted on: February 5, 2019

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools is disappointed that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has chosen to strike at four Chicago International Charter School (CICS) campuses, which affects the education of 2,200 students. The safety of students and staff along with maintaining a stable, high-quality learning environment remains a CICS top priority. INCS therefore calls the CTU to work towards a reasonable resolution, enabling all involved to shift their collective energy to the priorities that matters most—children.

Civitas, the employer of staff at these four schools, have held over 30 negotiating sessions with CTU since May 2018. The Civitas team has offered salary increases for teachers and staff that amount to 28 percent over the four-year life of the contract, increased days of paid time off and capped class size of 29 students. CTU is demanding an even higher pay increase of 35 percent. Civitas has also agreed to voluntarily recognize paraprofessionals in the contract and add full-time teacher’s aides to its K-2 classrooms. At no point was it ever suggested that this would be in exchange for social workers, nurses or other critical student support services at any of the Civitas campuses.

The CTU has rejected, countering with unfair demands that would have a negative impact on students. A student-centered focus would preserve, not diminish, instructional time, and it would support school choice for parents and children. If the CTU was sincere about doing what’s best for children, it would prevent strikes, particularly after months of negotiating opportunities. A strike places significant burdens on children, parents and families, as well as teachers—educators who work hard to create safe and productive learning environments.

The CTU could accomplish much more by supporting legislation in Springfield that provides fair funding, enabling charter public schools to meet the needs of their educators and improve communities. Instead of being part of the solution, the CTU has officially opposed such legislation for years.

INCS hopes for an amicable agreement, so that students can return to their classrooms.