CHICAGO - Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s weekend prediction that there would be no school on Monday became official on Sunday night. Students will have another day off as the strike pushes into a fifth day.
Union leaders emerged Sunday night after another full day of negotiations at Malcolm X College. The latest is progress has been made with regard to preschool, homeless students and counselors in schools.
On Monday, Mayor Lightfoot sent a letter to CTU President Jesse Sharkey kindly asking all CPS teachers to return to class while negotiations continue.
CTU went on strike Thursday. Manning the picket lines are some 25,000 teachers and 8,000 support staff. Keeping a close eye on it all are student athletes in fall sports.
“Obviously there’s a lot going on off the field, but we still want the chance to compete on the field,” said Esme McCarthy, student athlete at Whitney Young High School.
“If you think about this, the kids are really part of a divorced family right now, right? You’ve got CTU on one side. You’ve got CPS on the other side and they’re stuck in the middle,” said Joe Trost, PepsiCo Showdown Founder.
Students told reporters at Whitney Young it’s their last season and they didn’t expect it to go down this way.
“It would be great if you could let us play,” said Osvaldo Barragan, Kennedy High School senior.
They’re pleading with the Illinois High School Association to make an exception to the strict rules about state playoffs.
“I was gonna have some college coaches come look at me on Wednesday but like again, I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. This is something that could impact me the rest of my life,” said Barragan.
IHSA is expected to make a ruling Monday about what to do with Chicago public school teams as the strike continues.
“This is my last year and I never thought it could come to an end like this,” said Rafael Soto, student athlete.
As for CPS, Mayor Lightfoot says the board is waiting for counter offers on CTU’s two big sticking points – class size and staffing. She says her team has been turning around thoughtful offers at a rapid pace and claims CTU is not meeting that same pace.
Asked to respond to the mayor's accusation about the union being slow to respond, CTU leaders said that's not true. They said they've been negotiating in good faith for 10 months, and that they were first to put out proposals that the board didn't even respond to until teachers went on strike.
Teachers plan to hit the picket lines in the morning at 6:30 a.m. and negotiations are set to start at 9:30 a.m.