A Chicago charter school that has received more than $23 million in public money since opening in 2004 is arguing that it is a private institution, a move teachers say is designed to block them from forming a union.
In papers filed with the National Labor Relations Board, attorneys for the Chicago Math and Science Academy on the city’s North Side say the school should be exempt from an Illinois law that grants employees of all public schools the right to form unions for contract negotiations.
The school of about 600 students is appealing an unfavorable decision by a regional director of the national labor board. Academy officials say charter schools don’t have the governmental ties that characterize public schools, such as government-appointed leadership or controls over wages, hours and working conditions. In other words, they say, the same freedoms over personnel and policy that many credit to charter schools’ success are also indicative of their independence.