CTU-ACTS, the newly established division of the CTU for charter schools is growing. Two new charter schools have voted to unionize. Organizing campaigns at ChiArts (Chicago High School for the Arts), a Near Northwest Side specialty high school and Namaste Charter School, a McKinley Park elementary school, have been victorious. Members at both schools have taken a stand for their rights on the job and will be joining our ranks. Congratulations to our new members and to the organizers at ChiActs and CTU who helped win the campaign, and welcome to our newest members!
Protecting the rights of tenured teachers is a vital aspect of the CTU’s work. An arbitration award, handled by CTU Attorney Latoyia Kimbrough, has affirmed the due process rights of tenured teachers in our correctional facility schools (York Alternative and Nancy B. Jefferson).
Our members must undergo rigorous security screening and obtain security clearance through the Cook County Department of Corrections to teach in schools housed in correctional facilities. The County has broad discretion to revoke a security clearance, and in cases where a teacher’s security clearance is revoked, he or she is no longer eligible to continue working within the correctional facility.
In this case, the County revoked the security clearance of a tenured teacher at York. Approximately six weeks later, CPS ‘honorably terminated’ the teacher from her position, as she no longer had the required clearance for it, but advised she was eligible for rehire at other CPS schools. Months later, however, CPS unilaterally placed a DNH on the tenured teacher’s file on the basis of the same allegations that led to the revocation of her security clearance – effectively bypassing the tenured teacher’s rights to a dismissal hearing before being terminated for cause and declared ineligible for rehire.
In arbitration, CPS argued that because the DNH was issued after the honorable termination when the teacher was no longer a CPS employee, it had no obligation to provide her due process. The arbitrator disagreed, and held that there is no exemption in the School Code for the due process rights of tenured teachers who teach at alternative schools housed in correctional facilities; that the teacher’s termination and DNH designation will be void; and that if CPS desires to dismiss her and assign her a DNH, it must follow the tenured teacher dismissal procedure in the School Code.