By Rob Callaghan
The board and administration of Academy of the City Charter School have announced that they have formally recognized the union at the school. The announcement comes just weeks after teachers organized a union at the Long Island City charter school. The recognition agreement, signed by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the school’s principal, and board president, identifies the UFT as the exclusive collective bargaining agent for the educators at Academy of the City, and states that the two parties will begin collective bargaining.
The teaching staff announced they voted unanimously to form a union at the school on May 21. At the time, the teachers and staff sent a letter to the school’s board and parents outlining their vision for the school’s future and the important role a union should play.
“We made this decision because we believe it is critical for us to establish a formal, collective voice within our school community. The recognition of the teaching and professional staff as respected partners at AoC is fundamental to the success of our school and to the realization of its mission to empower students.”
Teachers at the school said they are eager to work with the school’s administration to create a contract which will solidify their mutual commitment to the success of the school and the realization of its mission to empower students.
Special education teacher Jessica Donatelli stated that she and her colleagues are excited about crafting a school-based contract that meets the unique needs of Academy of the City teachers and students. “In order to carry out Academy of the City’s mission of creating independent thinkers, who are committed to an educational philosophy rooted in social justice, we must lead by example. By negotiating on a mutually agreeable contract we are demonstrating that our school is, at its very core, dedicated to establishing an atmosphere of collaboration and reflection,” said Donatelli.
First grade teacher Diane Biondo agreed. “Belonging to a union reflects our personal and professional commitment to our school and community,” said Biondo.
The union and school’s board have begun negotiations and are working toward a first contract at the school.