Chicago teachers strike cancels classes for 10th day, but glimmer of hope for HS teams

The Chicago teachers strike cancelled classes for a 10th day Wednesday, but there was renewed hope for several high school football teams that are at risk of being locked out of the state playoffs if the walkout endures.

Meanwhile, contract talks resumed. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union met face-to-face Tuesday but failed to reach a tentative agreement.

The Illinois State High School Association said in a news release that the school district said it would allow the teams to practice during the strike but that they won't be allowed to play in games on Saturday if the strike hasn't been settled by then.

The announcement came just in time for 19 schools whose teams qualified for the state playoffs because IHSA rules require teams from schools where teachers are on strike to practice for three days before they play a game. The teams can only practice if they find coaches that have the proper certification or meet various requirements. The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many of the schools had found coaches.

Lightfoot said Tuesday that she has sweetened the city's offer, committing more money to reduce class sizes and boost long-term teachers' pay. Union leaders responded that they expected to get details of those proposals on Wednesday to share with teachers.

If negotiators reach a tentative agreement, union officials said elected delegates could vote on Wednesday afternoon.

But neither side seemed certain that will happen.

Union leaders say its 25,000 members will have to consider the "risks and rewards" of continuing a strike.