CHICAGO—On Thursday, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will hold a press conference announcing a strike date at charter schools run by Instituto del Progreso Latino.
Coming just before the CPS Board of Education meeting, the press event will highlight the mismanagement of school funds, lack of Bilingual and Special Education support, and speak to the CPS charter renewal process. Parents, members of the union working at these schools, and CTU leadership will attend.
Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy (IJLA) is expected to receive a conditional one year charter renewal at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, the minimum allowed, due to CPS concerns about conditions at the school. Staff at both IJLA and Instituto’s Instituto Health Sciences Academy (IHSCA) are preparing to strike over related issues.
Instituto’s unwillingness to agree to minimum special education staffing levels, standard language around educators’ rights, sanctuary protections for immigrant students and employees, equal compensation for equal work, have left unionized educators with no other choice than to withhold their labor. Members voted unanimously to authorize a strike a couple months ago, after two years of stalling by school leaders at the bargaining table.
CTU’s concerns about Instituto’s financial practices include the agency paying itself rent and “management fees” taken from the schools’ budget that have increased by 81% in the last two years. This means nearly a quarter of all money allocated to Instituto by the school district to educate CPS students is instead passed on to Instituto’s general budget through these rent and management fees.
The Chicago Teachers Union is also insisting on continued efforts by CPS and the Board of Education to improve and strengthen the charter school renewal process. Last year, IJLA received a one year conditional renewal and IHSCA only received a two year renewal due to operational, financial, and academic concerns from the school district.
“When charter oversight and renewals still leave our members having to strike to ensure basic expectations like special education services and equal pay, the district needs a new process,” Stacy Davis Gates, Chicago Teachers Union President, said. “Families at these schools have had no Local School Council, no seat at the appointed board of education and no voice in school policy. For years these decisions were left to bankers, privatizers and others with no skin in the game. And look at the mess we have before us. Black parents and brown families deserve order and agency and investment. The corporate style leadership of our public schools has failed the same families over and over again. We have a chance to get this right with a mayor committed to our school communities and new school leadership who understand that you can’t do more with less.”
Board of Education Press Conference
Time: 9:15 AM
Location: 42 W. Madison
Press Conference Speakers:
- CTU Charter Division Chair: Jen Conant
- Instituto Parent: Martha Rivas
- Instituto Parent: Ameilia Slazar
- Instituto School Mentor: Carina Gutierrez
- Instituto Teacher and CTU Chapter Leader: Leah Jonaitis
- CTU President Stacy Davis Gates
Time: 3:15 PM
Location: 2520 S. Western Ave
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