Management, educators at Passages charter remain far apart on classroom resources, teachers’ voices, rock-bottom spending for educators of immigrant and refugee students.
CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)–May 23, 2017. Union educators at Passages Charter School will hold a final rally in the run-up to their last bargaining session on Wednesday — the day before they’re scheduled to stage the first strike of a charter school in U.S. history. The rally will begin at 4:00 PM at Passages Charter School, 1643 W. Bryn Mawr on Chicago’s north side.
Teachers voted unanimously to strike on May 4, after a year of bargaining failed to produce a fair contract. AHS — Asian Human Services, the agency that runs Passages — spends twice as much on management and overhead and a lower percentage on direct student and personnel costs than every other single-site charter in the city except one.
Passages was one of the first charter schools created in Chicago, and today serves just under 500 students — including a large population of immigrant and refugee students of Asian and African heritage. Passages’ 46 union teachers, teaching assistants and paraprofessionals were certified last April as members of ChiACTS Local 4343, which represents educators at 32 Chicago charter schools.
While senior management for the school earns top dollar, Passages teachers earn on average over 20% less than charter teachers at comparable schools. The most recently available tax documents show that the current and former CEOs of AHS together earned $540,000 — more than twice that of Forrest Claypool, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools and its 400,000 students. The combined current salaries for Passages’ 46 bargaining unit members is $1.7 million.
Teachers and management continue to remain far apart on issues related to teacher prep time, a voice in decisions affecting students, and resources devoted to the classroom, including salaries. Passages’ lack of financial transparency and accountability also remains a point of contention, with teachers calling for greater fiscal oversight at the school — including improvements in the percentage of dollars that management spends on students instead of on its own compensation. The teachers have also criticized management’s recent claims of offering a 16% raise, which the bargaining team asserts is a flat-out distortion of what is, in fact, a much lower offer that would still leave educators’ compensation at much lower levels than their peers at other charter schools in Chicago.
Source: ChiACTS Local 4343
Teachers at Chicago’s Passages Elementary to Strike May 25; First Charter Strike in U.S. History