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Almost 90 percent of unionized charter schools have negotiated and ratified safe reopening agreements with CTU. These agreements vary, but include testing, screening, increased nursing services, more social workers, more councilors and, importantly, safety committees that can ensure enforcement.

The CTU-ACTS Governing Board met as union representatives from all CTU-represented charter schools to discuss safe reopening. The Gboard members shared their experiences in the opening weeks of school, identified problems and discussed solutions to ensure safer schools for both staff and students.

CTU-ACTS has established a health insurance committee that is in the process of designing a benefits plan that promises to provide an improved benefits package with large cost savings. The committee has Union representation from all unionized charter school networks. CTU will set up multi-employer meetings to discuss the plan later this year. All charter school contracts expire this summer.

Youth Connections Leadership Academy started the 2021 school year. This is news because the charter holder, Youth Connections Charter School (YCCS), had planned to close the school. The charter claims it cannot find a place to house the alternative school and is still planning to close it. Stay tuned.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill that puts contract schools into the Chicago Teacher Pension Fund. After joining CTU, members from the Chicago High School School for the Arts brought new energy to the Union’s demand for the change. Hard work, support from members and allies in the community and in the general assembly led to this important victory.