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Teachers union agrees to represent charter school

Local 420 President Mary Armstrong

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis teachers union, Local 420 has signed a labor agreement to represent teachers and staff at a city charter school.

The agreement comes despite the union's claim that charter schools amount to the "systematic dismantling of public schools".

Mary Armstrong is the President of Local 420. She says this particular charter school was sponsored by the district in order to help it meet vocational education benchmarks.

"There have been other charter schools that have approached us in the previous two to three years, but with this group, because of the sponsorship by St. Louis Public Schools, we felt a kinship," said Armstrong.

In the past the teachers union and the board of education haven't pulled any punches when it came to assigning blame to charters for siphoning away pupils and state tuition money.

In this case however, the charter was actually sanctioned by the district.

Rich Ledbetter is the Chair of the Board of Education for the Construction Careers Center.

"We are uniquely sponsored by the St. Louis Public School District. From then beginning of our school we have had a relationship with our local public school district. They have been our sponsor, so right there our school separates itself from any other in the area," said Ledbetter.

Local 420 is the same union that represents public school teachers in St. Louis City.

Unlike many other states, charter schools in St. Louis do not fall under the governance of the board of education.

The Construction Careers Center is currently at capacity with 450 high school students.

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