• 6:00 p.m.: Picket/press conference, Passages charter teachers at charter operator’s ‘gala’ fundraiser, 825 W. Erie

Charter CEO makes same $250,00 salary to run one school as CPS CEO makes to run over 500, in naked example of operator self-enrichment at expense of students.

CHICAGO, October 24—Striking CTU members at Passages Charter School on Chicago’s North Side will be picketing starting at 5 pm tonight outside a fundraising gala for Asian Human Services (AHS), the company that operates Passages. They’ll hold a press conference tonight at 6:00 p.m. at 825 W. Erie — the gala location — as AHS supporters come into attend the fundraiser.

Passages educators joined their brothers and sisters already on strike at CPS when they walked out on Tuesday, October 22, after contract talks with AHS broke down.

Craig Maki, the CEO of AHS, makes over $250,000 a year to manage one school, while CPS CEO Janice Jackson makes roughly the same to manage more than 500 schools. Passages Charter School accounts for almost half of the total AHS budget.

AHS canceled today’s bargaining session, and also say none of the money raised tonight at their ‘masquerade carnivale’ will actually be used for the school. Half of AHS’ budget comes from public funds provided by CPS to run the school.

Top ticket prices for tonight’s AHS fundraising gala is $25,000. AHS ‘invited’ striking educators to purchase ‘discount’ tickets to the fundraiser at a cost of $155, a “generous” $20 discount off the regular ticket price of $175.

The charter operator has cut teaching staff for English language learners by half.

Passages educators earn 30 percent less in compensation than CPS teachers, while working a longer day under even worse working conditions, leading to a high rate of teacher turnover.

Striking CTU Passages educators and support staff are outraged that Maki and his friends are having a gala event while educators and students wait for them to resume bargaining.

AHS claims they have no funds to meet student needs, even though three strikes against multiple charter operators in the last year have won these contract commitments for other CTU charter members — and AHS has the money to do the same for their students.

Over the last three days on the picket lines, Passages educators have received a groundswell of solidarity that includes support from 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez, a busload of unionized flight attendants who joined their picket line, and support on the picket line from nearby striking CPS schools. CTU President Jesse Sharkey has staged a series of morning availabilities with strikers.

CTU educators at Passages are confronting the same issues CTU members at other charters struck over on three separate occasions earlier this year — in December against charter operator UNO/Acero in the first strike of a charter operator in the nation. In February, CTU educators struck against charter operator CICS, and in May CTU members struck again at Instituto and Pilsen Wellness Center in the first strike against multiple charter operators in U.S. history. Passages strikers are fighting for a contract that addresses many of the same issues that have put 25,000 striking CPS educators on the picket lines. They’re calling for guaranteed access to social workers, counselors and psychologists for their students, who are mostly immigrant and refugee children who are also English-language learners.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.