4:30 pm, Tuesday, April 11: Academic and Art educators at the Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) to host a press conference and rally to demand a safe, supportive and sustainable school community for all.

Location: 2714 W. Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622

CHICAGO — On Tuesday, April 11, academic and arts educators will join forces with parents, students, and community members to demand a safe, welcoming, and more sustainable educational community from The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), a performing arts charter school located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The Tuesday rally and press conference for a fair and joint contract comes as the charter school’s board of directors has canceled its April meeting and refuses to bargain jointly with academic and arts educators.

While academic and arts educators technically remain in separate “bargaining units,” they are both employed by one school, educate one student body, and share the same concerns regarding what is necessary to improve the school community. It is completely legal and common practice for negotiations for a union contract to cover multiple job categories or bargaining units, as is the case at CPS and all other CTU-represented charter schools. Regrettably, ChiArts and its board are forcing these two units to bargain separately — creating unnecessary division and obstructing educators’ ability to get the resources they need to ensure their classrooms are safe, welcoming, and thriving places for their students to learn.

With more English-language learners and special education students joining the ChiArts student body, securing a joint contract that guarantees resources for these students and their needs is critical now more than ever.

Due to a lack of resources, special education students are not consistently receiving their legally mandated support throughout the arts day. Since there is a need for more equitable accountability, transparency and oversight provided to charter schools by CPS, one of the only methods to ensure that charter students are getting the services they need is through a fairly negotiated collectively bargained agreement.

Beyond advocating for protections for the most vulnerable students, educators at ChiArts are also fighting for a full-time school nurse, protections for LGBTQIA students and staff, paid preparation time for arts educators, commitments to recruit and retain educators of color, and more dynamic health and safety protocols following the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Sadly on all of these common-sense measures, ChiArts and its board of directors continue to obstruct, delay and stand in the way of what is best for our students, their families and the entire school community.

At Tuesday’s rally and press conference, educators and community members will lay out their demands and urge the board to stop stalling, wasting precious resources that should be going to students’ education, and allow educators to negotiate together to ensure a contract responsive to the needs of our students and our classrooms.

WHAT: ChiArts Press Conference and Rally

WHEN: Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 4:30 pm (CST)

WHERE: 2714 West Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622

WHO: Caroline Rutherford, CTU Charter Division; ChiArts Academic Educators; ChiArts Arts Educators; ChiArts Parents