• 7:00 a.m., Thurs. Oct. 10: Sharkey, charter teachers to announce strike date
    Passages charter school, 1643 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago

CEO for lone CPS-funded charter earns equal to CPS CEO who oversees 500+ schools, as management undermines special ed, English language supports and sanctuary for immigrant/refugee students.

CHICAGO—After months of fruitless negotiations, CTU bargaining team members at Passages Charter School will announce a strike date at 7:00 a.m. this Thursday, October 10 at the school, located at 1643 W. Bryn Mawr. They’ll be joined by CTU President Jesse Sharkey, as tens of thousands of CTU members in CPS district-run schools brace for a possible strike next week.

Passages’ students speak dozens of languages, and come from across Mexico, Central and South America, Asia and the African continent. Close to 70 percent are low-income. Over half are Black, Latinx or other children of color. Almost four in ten have limited English skills, and the school has one of the highest percentages of refugee students in CPS.

Yet charter holder Asian Human Services, which owns and runs the school, continues to refuse to even bargain over, let alone agree to, sanctuary language to protect the school’s immigrant and refugee students.

“Last year, every union charter school we bargained with agreed to sanctuary language,” said CTU-ACTS Chair Chris Baehrend. “The CTU has even reached a tentative agreement with CPS around sanctuary language in district-run schools. But Asian Human Services, which has a mission of helping refugees and immigrants, refuses to even bargain with us over this critical issue. Many of our students come from immigrant and refugee families. They need these protections—especially in the era of Trump and with the huge carve-outs that remain in Rahm Emanuel’s ‘Welcoming City’ sanctuary ordinance.”

Staffing is also a critical issue. The school’s chronic shortage of teachers and paraprofessionals for English language learners and special education students is approaching a crisis level for students, creating high and destabilizing turn-over and harsh working conditions for remaining educators. Those educators voted unanimously to authorize a strike on September 23.

According to IRS data for the charter holder, Asian Human Services, CEO Craig Maki made $247,725 plus $16,000 in additional compensation for the latest year available. Yet Passages pays teachers at the school 28% less than their colleagues at CPS district-run schools.