In the Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) this calendar year, CTU has worked with friendly elected officials to introduce a number of bills. The proposed legislation aims to improve the governance, funding, working conditions, and operations of the Chicago Public Schools and of charter operators. As each of the bills listed below progresses, the Union will keep members updated and will help every member contact their elected officials to encourage its passage.
CTU is promoting a legislative package to improve financial accountability and increase parental involvement at charter schools. We’re also promoting a bill to cap charter schools at their current numbers, statewide.
Charter school financial accountability
HB 278 (Welch) / SB 197 (Collins) will prohibit for-profit charter management organizations from running charters in the future and will cap charter CEO pay. In addition, it will create a minimum requirement for spending on core school operations: instruction, instructional materials, building operations, transportation, and support services.
Charter school expansion cap
HB 279 (Guzzardi) establishes a cap on charter school expansion in financially distressed school districts such as CPS.
Charter school Local School Councils
Abolish the State Charter School Commission
HB 2100 (Welch) would abolish the state charter school commission that overrides the wishes of local school boards to approve or deny a charter school application.
Working conditions in all schools
End “Section 4.5” bargaining restrictions
HB 2275 (Conyears-Ervin) / SB 1732 (Cunningham) would reverse a section of the 1995 Chicago School Reform Act that made it nigh impossible for CTU to negotiate class sizes, special education and clinician staffing, and third party outsourcing with the Chicago Public Schools. That law altered Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to move those topics from “mandatory” bargaining (the Union can strike over it) to “permissive” (can be bargained, but not struck). This has resulted in: some of the largest class sizes in the state; woefully inadequate staffing of school nurses, school social workers and other clinicians, special education teachers, and teacher assistants; and the outsourcing of school operations to Aramark that resulted in filthy schools and dangerous learning conditions. These issues are mandatory subjects of bargaining in every other Illinois school district. This proposed legislation merely puts CPS on an equal playing field.
Elected School Board
HB1589 (Harper) / SB 1956 (Sims) create a new category of eligible expenditures for special education and trauma services in the state’s TIF law and require any TIF surplus in Chicago to be directed fully to CPS.