- CPS Board of Education meeting: 4PM TODAY, March 25
Via livestream: https://www.cpsboe.org/
CTU, SEIU Local 73 struck for 11 days to bring equity to school communities, and funds must be used to accelerate equity for low-income students, homeless students, English language learners, special education students, health needs of school communities, families.
CHICAGO, March 25, 2020—On the table today at the Board of Education’s virtual meeting is CPS’ request for a $75 million blank check to contend with the COVID-19 fallout in school communities. CTU President Jesse Sharkey will speak at this meeting to call on CPS to ensure that those funds are used to accelerate equity for students—equity needs that the Union and SEIU Local 73 prioritized in their eleven day strike last fall.
The union is also calling for immediate housing for all students in temporary living situations—homeless students, and support for the ‘Right to Recovery’ coronavirus package being advanced by local and state legislators.
“We must confront equity needs head on for our school communities and our city, as CPS grapples with the consequences of the coronavirus,” said Sharkey. “Our school communities must have the right to recover, and CPS’ proposed $75 million in COVID-19-related expenditures must speak to those needs and the broad equity demands we won for students and families in our contract.”
CTU members struck to push CPS to address chronic inequities in public schools in an enforceable labor contract. Those linchpin issues—the desperate need for school nurses, trauma supports, smaller class sizes, the expansion of supports for special education students and homeless students, and more—will only intensify in the wake of fallout from the pandemic.
“In this moment, the Board of Education must prioritize two critical principles,” said Sharkey. “First, the board must ensure equity, which includes working together to provide health care supports for all students, and pushing companies to fast track the manufacture and provision of computer devices for every student in every school. Second, as we segue out of remote learning back into our school communities, we must work together to provide the infrastructure for more supports for our students—including new funding for those supports. We’ll never get the days back that we’ve lost with our students because of this pandemic, but we can leverage additional funds to ensure that students who confront gross inequities have that much more support when they return to school.”
The union is calling on the BOE to:
- Staff up for nurses in every school community now, rather than staffing up incrementally under the terms of the five-year contract;
- Staff up school communities to full capacity;
- Expand the number of professionals in school communities who provide social/emotional support;
- Expand support for special education students;
- Work with the CTU to afford rank and file members the opportunity to volunteer to support needs within school communities and within the larger city.
“We are ready to work shoulder to shoulder with CPS and the Board to accelerate efforts to meet the equity needs of our students,” said Sharkey. “We need each other to get this done, and we ask that CPS and the Board join us in urging state legislators and ISBE to advance these goals not just in Chicago but across the state for every public school student.”