Photo: Ashlee Rezin Garcia, AP
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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on a teachers strike in Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district (all times local):
More than 300,000 Chicago students will miss another day of classes as contract talks between striking teachers and the school district remain at an impasse.
Chicago Public Schools announced Thursday night the cancellation of Friday classes. Chicago Teachers Union vice president Stacy Davis Gates tweeted the strike will continue into Friday.
The union has rejected an offer of a 16% base pay raise over five years and is asking for a 15% hike over three years. The union has also highlighted demands for enlarging support staff such as nurses, special education assistants and librarians in every school.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the district has offered the teachers a “very fair and generous” compensation package. Lightfoot says a bigger compensation package won’t be offered because the city can’t afford it.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says a teacher strike could be settled “today” if the Chicago Teachers Union would negotiate with a seriousness and “sense of urgency.”
Lightfoot spoke Thursday after visiting schools in the nation’s third-largest district during the first day of the strike.
She says Chicago Public Schools offered the union a “very fair and generous” compensation package and addressed “ancillary issues” such as class size and support staff. But Lightfoot says the union hasn’t put in the face-to-face bargaining time to reach a deal.
She says “we can’t bargain by ourselves.”
Negotiations are continuing Thursday morning, ahead of a rally the union has scheduled for 1:30 p.m. outside CPS’ downtown offices.
The union says it wants the district to put into writing commitments on class sizes and staffing.
Parents and students are having mixed reactions to a teacher strike at Chicago Public Schools.
Parent Jamel Boyd yelled “I am so with you all” to picketing teachers as she dropped her kids off Thursday at school, where administrators are staffing buildings.
Samantha Williams said her son is in first grade and missing instruction time is “not good.” She understands teachers need more help but also says “I think it’s more about money. I don’t think they had to go on strike.”
Ten-year-old Idalia Martinez says she’s sad because she’s learning division and having some trouble. She says, “I’m a little bad at it but I enjoy it.”
Martinez says a teacher told students Wednesday there wouldn’t be class on Thursday because “the mayor doesn’t give us the stuff we need.”
Striking Chicago teachers say they’re walking the picket lines to get more resources for students and smaller class sizes, not more money in their pockets.
Yakirah Robinson was picketing Thursday morning with about 20 other teachers and staff in front of Smyth Elementary, a predominantly black and low-income school on Chicago’s near South Side. She teaches 4th and 5th grade and says she has 33 students in her classroom, many of whom need extra help.
Art teacher John Houlihan says “it’s ridiculous” that kids dealing with “profound poverty” and homelessness are in classes of 30 to 40 students. He says it’s “not an environment for learning.”
The strike started Thursday after the Chicago Teachers Union and the nation’s third-largest school district failed to reach a contract deal.
Chicago teachers are on strike after failing to reach a contract deal with the nation’s third-largest school district.
Picket lines are going up Thursday morning after the Chicago Teachers Union confirmed Wednesday night that its 25,000 members would not return to their classrooms. The strike follows months of negotiations between the union and Chicago Public Schools that failed to resolve disputes over pay and benefits, class size and teacher preparation time.
Union President Jesse Sharkey says they want a “short strike.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was disappointed by the strike decision.
The strike is Chicago’s first major walkout by teachers since 2012 and city officials announced early Wednesday that all classes were canceled for Thursday in hopes of giving more planning time to the parents of more than 300,000 students.