Teachers' Strike at Chicago International Charter Schools Network Enters 3rd Day

For the third day in a row, teachers at charter schools in Chicago hit the picket lines.

Negotiations appear to have stalled between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago International Charter Schools network.

Teachers at four of the network's unionized schools went on strike beginning Tuesday after nine months of negotiations over a new contract.

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 each day 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.

The union is also demanding a state investigation into the number of CICS investment and bond deals that they consider to be conflicts of interest.

It was not immediately clear when bargaining would resume. While teachers are not in the classroom, students still are, under the supervision of principals and non-union staff.

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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