Approved: Chicago’s first charter school teachers union contract

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Teachers at three Chicago charter schools have ratified a labor contract with education management group Civitas—ending months of negotiations and finalizing the city’s first teachers union contract for charters.

The vote was 87 to 8 in favor of ratification. The deal was signed this morning by all parties.

Highlights include:

  • Salary raises that will range from 4.2 to 25.4 percent in the first year and 2.5 and 10.55 percent in the second and third years
  • Additional merit pay programs in years two and three of the contract
  • A new teacher evaluation system based on the Danielson model
  • Joint teacher-administrator planning on curriculum and professional development
  • Due process for disciplinary issues and firings, including an avenue for “binding arbitration”
  • Class size caps (29 students) that require arbitration when exceeded
  • New avenues for parent and community engagement will be established
  • A slight increase in Civitas’ contribution to health plans (from 75 to 80 percent of the premium)

The three schools are campuses of Chicago International Charters.

In a press release, Spanish teacher and chair of the negotiations Emily Mueller said, “This contract puts students first, gives teachers a voice and a seat at the table, and makes parents and the community partners in education.”

As Chicago’s first charter union contract, the negotiations were closely watched by national labor organizations. In the same press release, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “This contract is a great example of how charter schools can be incubators for innovative reforms and good labor-management practices…Civitas teachers are walking the education-reform walk by forging a new path for charter schools that value collaboration.”

Catalyst will take a closer look at the contract in the next week, but you can read our past coverage here.