CTU and CICS Reach Tentative Agreement, Ending Teachers' Strike

After nearly two weeks, a teachers' strike at the Chicago International Charter Schools network ended early Monday after a tentative agreement was reached.

The strike began on Feb. 5 when negotiations between CICS and the Chicago Teachers Union stalled.

Around 175 teachers at four of the network's unionized schools went on strike after nine months of negotiations over a new contract.

The strike impacted roughly 2200 students at four CICS schools: Northtown High School, ChicagoQuest North High School, Wrightwood and Ralph Ellison High School.

The teachers wanted better pay and smaller classes, plus more counselors and social workers on staff. CICS offered a 31 percent increase in teacher salaries over four years, the network said in a statement, as well as maximum class sizes of 28 students and a reduced work year and work day.

CTU had previously 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.

This marked 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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