As strike looms, CPS offers contingency plan

August 30, 2012 4:03:11 PM PDT
Parents in Chicago are scrambling to make alternate plans for their children in the event public school teachers go on strike.

The teachers' house of delegates is meeting Thursday afternoon on the city's South Side.

The head of CPS, Jean-Claude Brizard, announced details of the district's strike contingency plan, which calls for the opening of 145 school sites from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Locations are to be announced later.

No instruction will be given, but breakfast and lunch would be provided. And students would have access to sports facilities, computers, and areas for reading and writing.

CPS has also asked the Illinois High School Association to waive its rule barring sports programs in the event of a strike.

"We're trying to see what we can do as a system to make sure we keep as many programs going as possible in the event that CTU decides to go on strike," said Rosario.

In addition, city summer camps would be extended and libraries, churches, and non-profits would be enlisted. Among them is Catholic Charities, which says it's working with the state to provide free all-day child care for cps families that apply in advance.

On Thursday, Brizard said he was hopeful it won't come to all that.

"There's no reason to walk out as we negotiate," he said. "We have come far over the last eight, nine months. I know we can close this deal."

In addition to CPS' plan, several daycare facilities are planning to extend their summer hours including the Wishcraft Workshop in Roscoe Village where a waiting list is growing. The owner is herself a CPS parent.

"For families that are just making it, this is, it could be disastrous," said Candice Blansett-Cummins, The Wishcraft Workshop.

At Yates Elementary in Humboldt Park Thursday, the potential teachers strike had parents uneasy.

"I just would have to put them in daycare. It's going to be hard, but that's the last option I guess," said Yeidimar Rosario, CPS parent.

If her kids can't be in school, Rousse Candelario may have to put on hold her own education plans.

"I haven't been because my kids come first, and I'm not going to leave something not finished and then do something for me, you know?" Candelario said.

CPS officials said if an agreement is not reached by next week, they will reveal more details of its contingency plan, including a phone number and website where parents can go to find the closest CPS. facility open during the strike.


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