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Recent Chicago International Charter School financial records show a $36 million surplus, but the charter operator has balked at spending those funds on classrooms. The summary below outlines where bargaining stands as of press time. 

Work day and year

CTU: Reasonable length of work day and year and resources to ensure a better day—not just a longer day for students.

CICS: “Flexibility” to significantly change educators’ schedule or increase work hours from year to year, for a longer year than CPS teachers.

Student support services

CTU: Protect social workers and counselors from budget cuts; students need more access to social work, counseling and special education services, not less.

CICS: Wants to lay off social workers, counselors and other positions if pay raises cost too much.   

Class size

CTU: Smaller class sizes that allow students to receive the attention they deserve.

CICS: Increased class sizes that harm students and their teachers.

Staff stability

CTU: Stable school communities and decreased staff turnover.

CICS: Increase in policies to fire teachers and bring in new staff; ability to expand the number of classes without teachers and replace educators with computer programs and less expensive staff.


CTU:  Equal pay for equal work. CICS schools receive more funding than the average CPS neighborhood school, but charter teachers are paid significantly less.

CICS: Protect CICS financial interests with substandard pay; longer day for less pay than teacher counterparts at district-run schools.


CTU: Lower health insurance costs for members.

CICS: Maintain current health care costs, despite a $36 million surplus on hand at CICS.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

CTU: Paid maternity and paternity leave. Administration receives this benefit, but union staff does not. That’s wrong.

CICS: Rejected maternity/paternity leave for teachers and wants to take it away from paraprofessionals who already had it.

This article appears in the January 2019 issue of the Chicago Union Teacher.