Teachers Strike at Chicago International Charter Schools Network

Teachers at charter schools in Chicago went on strike Tuesday for the second time this school year.

The strike is happening at four unionized schools in the Chicago International Charter Schools network, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.

After nine months of negotiations, school management and teachers could not come to terms on a new contract, CTU said.

Around 175 educators are striking, according to CTU, which impacts roughly 2200 students at four CICS schools: Northtown High School, ChicagoQuest North High School, Wrightwood and Ralph Ellison High School.

Teachers were picketing outside all four schools beginning early Tuesday.

"We have hit a big obstacle and that obstacle is CICS," CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said. "Trust us to provide the best education."

The teachers want better pay and smaller classes, plus more counselors and social workers on staff. CICS released a statement saying the teachers were offered 28 percent raises over four years, more paid time off and other concessions.

CTU said CICS' revenue increased with the 2017 revamp of Illinois' school funding model, from $82 million in 2017 to $93 million in 2018, and the organization increased spending on management expenses by 31 percent but only increased spending on student services by 3 percent.

It was not immediately clear when bargaining would resume. This marks the second charter school strike in Chicago over the last two months.

In December, teachers at the Acero charter school network went on strike, marking the first-ever strike against a charter school operator in the country.

That strike, impacting 7,500 students at 15 schools, ended after six days.

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