Educators Prepare to Approve a New Contract Deal with Acero Charter Schools
Acero Tentative Agreement Creates A Stark Contrast Between City’s Charter Operators, as Chicago International Charter School Management Continues to Block Resources for Students and Families
CHICAGO–On Thursday, Acero Educators are expected to vote overwhelmingly to approve a tentative agreement with the Acero Charter Schools, ushering in a new era for the operator and its relationship with educators, their students and the educational community it serves.
As part of the four-year deal, Acero has agreed to a common-good agreement that would ensure Acero Charter Schools are safe, welcoming and thriving places for Black, brown and LGBTQIA students; expand professional development opportunities for educators; and foster anti-racist and sustainable school environments.
The agreement, which covers over 500 educators and school-related personnel in the city, would also guarantee a minimum of two guidance counselors at each high school, one Academic Interventionist at each school and hiring more social workers.
“We are glad to have reached an agreement with Acero schools that will improve those schools long term,” said Jen Conant, Chair of CTU’s Charter Division and a math teacher at CICS Northtown. “We hope that other charter operators, like CICS and Christopher House, will choose to invest resources that will allow our schools to thrive as well. They owe their students and staff nothing less, and we will stand together to secure that.”
Beyond improving health and safety conditions for students and educators–including the maintenance of HEPA Air filters, Assault and Battery Compensation and Lactation Room and breaks–the agreement also achieves compensation parity with CPS educators this year and averages 1 percent above CPS for the next school year.
“This agreement stands as a model for what can be done when educators, school-related personnel, and management come together to do what is best for the students and families that they serve,” said CTU President Stacy Davis Gates. “In our forward march for justice, equity and the schools our students deserve, we are looking for partners and leaders willing to do what is right for our students instead of those that would put profits over the resources our classrooms desperately need.”
On the heels of this historic agreement with Acero, the CTU continues to struggle at the bargaining table with Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and Christopher House. Unlike Acero management, which agreed to a yearly 3% cost-of-living increase and significant compensation improvements for other school-related personnel, the CICS and Christopher House salary proposals are below CPS, and the gaps would widen throughout the life of the collective bargaining agreements.
The CTU represents over 150 educators and school-related personnel at CICS.
Beyond that, their proposals would roll back counselor minimums won in the 2019 agreement and reject the inclusion of academic interventionists in the schools that need them the most. CICS has also rejected language around lactation breaks for educators, HEPA Air filters, Assault and Battery Compensation, and LGBTQIA Safe School protection proposals.
With negotiations at CICS stalled, educators and school-related personnel have decided to call for a strike authorization vote. The vote will be Thursday and Friday. Educators at Christopher House are also taking a strike authorization vote today and tomorrow.
“Today, we applaud the work of Acero for doing what is right,” said Davis Gates. “And to Chicago International Charter School and Christopher House, we say: DO BETTER.”