Tag Archives: Charter School

ASPIRA charter union reaches tentative agreement to avoid strike

(CHICAGO) The union representing more than 100 teachers, counselors and support staff in the four-school ASPIRA network has reached a tentative agreement with school management to avoid a strike, 10 days before the union vowed to walk off, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The agreement will be put to a vote by the union’s rank-and-file members at some point in the next 10 days, according to union spokeswoman Chris Geovanis.

As part of the tentative agreement, members of ChiACTS Local 4343 would receive a 3.25 percent pay raise in the first year, retroactive to Feb. 1, 2017, and a 3 percent pay raise next year, Geovanis said.

She said it was “a very positive agreement to come to with many challenges in the bargaining process.”
The work year would also be shortened by four days, and work days would shrink from 8 hours per day to 7 hours and 35 minutes, with neither change impacting students’ time in the classroom, according to Geovanis.

Last month, the union voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike, and a walkout date was set for March 17 if an agreement was not reached.

The strike vote was prompted by what the union called a “lack of transparency and accountability in finances and foundering leadership at the network’s most senior levels, threatening conditions in classrooms.”

The ASPIRA network operates a middle school and three high schools on the Northwest Side.

— Chicago Sun-Times

North Side neighborhood coalition asks mayor to halt charter school move

(CHICAGO) North Side politicians, principals and parents delivered letters to Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to stave off the move of a charter school into the Uptown neighborhood, saying CPS can’t afford a school it doesn’t need and reminding him that he supported neighborhood high schools on election night, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Letters from 13 politicians and 13 Local School Councils of surrounding elementary and high schools reject the proposed move of The Noble Academy from its temporary downtown location to an empty private school building at 640 W. Irving Park.

The coalition calls the move “fiscally irresponsible” of CPS, saying Amundsen, Lake View, Sullivan, Uplift and Senn high schools have plenty of room for more students, and locating the charter nearby will siphon away dollars CPS can’t afford.

Jeff Jenkins, a Coonley Elementary School parent, called the addition of 900 seats to Uptown “fiscally unsound and a major breach of fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers” as the district faces a $1.1 billion deficit.

“Given the data and the clear community support, saying ‘no’ to Noble in this instance is clearly the best choice and supports the neighborhood high schools. We hope that the mayor and the CPS Board hear and support the efforts of his constituents and this coalition, which is made up of those with the most at stake,” Jenkins said.

The Noble Academy argued at a public hearing last week that it’s out of space at 17 N. State Street and needs a permanent home.

Principal Pablo Sierra said the school — 5 miles from the nearest Noble branch — is “about a quality open enrollment choice for all families of Chicago. Certainly Noble Academy students here today . . . are no less deserving of a permanent home than those at Lake View, Amundsen or Senn.”

The Board of Education is slated to vote on the relocation amid other charter school proposals at its Wednesday meeting. CPS interim CEO Jesse Ruiz has recommended the Noble move despite outrage at the hearing and a planned Chicago Teacher’s Union protest before the vote.

The mayor’s office did not return messages seeking comment on Tuesday. In an emailed statement, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said: “CPS officials consider [community] perspectives when making recommendations to the Board of Education.”

Ruiz has warned schools could face classroom cuts if Springfield doesn’t fix the district’s pension crisis. More than ever schools are competing for money, including the fixed amount allotted for each enrolled student.

Supporters of the neighborhood schools say the proposed relocation contradicts Emanuel’s promise on election night, “I hear you, Chicago. . . . I hear you on the importance of neighborhood high schools.”

They also fear Noble’s move could undermine the GrowCommunity effort, a partnership of Aldermen Pat O’Connor (40th), Tom Tunney (44th) and Ameya Pawar (47th) with help from the mayor.

O’Connor said he’s not “knee-jerk opposed to charters” but supports his neighborhood high schools.

“If you’re trying to be a better school and you’re scrambling for good students and you want access to them,” the last thing you want is more charters, he said.

“However, if people in my community say they’d like another option,” O’Connor continued, “you have to listen to the residents.”