CTU, Urban Prep reach contract agreement; teachers strike ends

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Teachers at the all-boys charter school network Urban Prep Academy have reached an agreement with management, ending a strike after two days, the Chicago Teachers Union said Wednesday.

Urban Prep has agreed to salary increases for teachers, “moving them closer to other teachers throughout the district,” according to a CTU statement. Teachers will also receive three years’ back pay when they didn’t receive raises and additional paid leave, the union said.

“We’re not here without the voices of parents and teachers advocating for students,” said CTU’s in-house lawyer Latoyia Kimbrough. “Parents and teachers speaking out doesn’t mean they don’t believe in the mission of Urban Prep. Parents and teachers are speaking out because they are the owners of the Urban Prep mission. This legacy is theirs, and they fought — we all fought — to make Urban Prep better.”

A representative from Urban Prep couldn’t be reached for comment early Wednesday.

The union also said it had won a commitment from Urban Prep to “follow special education law after months of rejecting contract language that would secure those rights for students.”

A total of 34 teachers went on strike Monday at the academy’s Englewood, Bronzeville and Near West Side campuses, which together serve about 650 students. Urban Prep says 100% of their graduates are admitted to college.

When teachers went on strike, they said it was only after three years of failed bargaining. They said they are at the “bottom of the pay scale” among unionized city schools and that starting pay is about $11,000 less than at other CPS schools.

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