The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools have been struggling to come to terms on contract negotiations and how to fund school resources moving forward. As a result, the CTU has voted to approve a one-day walkout on April 1.
According to NBC Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says the walkout would ideally have teachers picket in the morning before meeting up for a rally later that day.
“We want them to know structural funding needs to change,” Lewis said to NBC. “We’d like to get this settled at some point or we’ll continue to be in same position.”
CPS administrators have already expressed their displeasure with the CTU’s choice to host the walkout, which would result in CPS being closed two Fridays back-to-back, following a mandated furlough day the week before.
“With a billion dollar budget deficit next year and a nearly $700 million state-mandated pension payment looming, Chicago’s students need their leaders to work together to convince Springfield to provide meaningful revenue reforms – not go on strike,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “In coming days, CPS will provide additional details about contingency plans for families that cannot make alternate arrangements for April 1.”
It appears that CTU will stand its ground moving forward, at least for the time being. While some members expressed their concerns and opposition in a meeting on Monday, others showed their support for the plan.
“What are they going to do, arrest us all? Put us all in jail? There’s not 27,000 spaces in the Cook County Jail right now,” Lewis told members Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “The whole key is, we all go out together, we go back in together. It is united, it is union, it is as one. That is what’s really important.”
At the end of the day, both sides claim that they’re trying to find the best way to keep students in classrooms, but their differing opinions on how to do that are where the two continue to bump heads.
“We are asking for people to take a stand around a social issue which is whether we are going to have public schools in the city,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “This is about teachers and other educators taking a stand with urgency to say fund our schools, fund our public institutions. It’s a matter of necessity.”