Chicago International Charter Schools Rally Ahead Of Strike Authorization Vote

Bernie Tafoya
November 02, 2018 - 10:06 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- For the second time this week, teachers from a Chicago charter school company will be taking a strike authorization vote.  

About 130 teachers who work at the four Chicago International Charter Schools will be taking a strike authorization vote Friday afternoon at Northtown Academy at Peterson and Pulaski.  

Dozens of the teachers rallied earlier Friday morning along Pulaski Road at Peterson holding signs such as: 'Can You Read This? You’re Welcome' and 'My 2nd job paid for this sign.'

Chris Baehrend, the elected chairman of the charter division of the Chicago Teachers Union, represents teachers at 34 charter schools and said teachers want a fair contract.

"Charters like to say they’re all about innovations. Their only innovation has been to fire teachers and bust unions. Innovation is what teachers do in the classroom and we do it best when we’re protected by a strong contract," he said.

Math teacher Jen Conant said charter school teachers are tired of having management that’s top-heavy with salaries.

"We’re tired of high teacher turnover. One of the ways to fix that is by offering a fair compensation package so our teachers can remain in our schools long-term," she said. 

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Chicago Teachers Union vice-president Stacy Davis Gates echoes the sentiment about charter school management pay. She said some CEOs make the same amount of money as Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson and she's running 400 schools where the charter school CEOs are running a few schools.

Chicago International Charter School said only a small percentage of school funds go to management fees. CICS said it’s troubled by a threatened strike and the harm it would do to students and their families. CICS is hoping a strike can be avoided.

Earlier this week, 500 teachers with the Acero charter schools voted in favor of authorizing a strike if contract talks bog down.