Chicago parents brace for possible teacher walk-out on April 1

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Chicago teachers will not strike on April 1, but they do plan to walk off their jobs for one day. (WLS)

Will April Fool's Day become a day of action for Chicago teachers?

As negotiations for a new contract go on, there are questions Thursday about what will happen in about two weeks and what parents can do for their kids if school isn't an option.
In Edison Park, a neighborhood theatre plans to open its doors if Chicago schools close on April 1

"You have to scramble for child care at the last minute," said Erin Mulkewich, WIP Theatre Company. "We just do what we do and it happens to work with what is happening that week."

The WIP Theatre Company is planning a $25 "Theatre Olympics Day" for kids should a Chicago Teachers Union "day of action" unfolds on April 1 to pressure Chicago Public Schools at the bargaining table.

For a parent of 6th and 3rd graders, the theatre's gesture is welcome

"I want to support the teachers, I want my kids in school," said Jackie Adams, an Edison Park resident. "I want the best of both worlds and it is not up to me."

The union has characterized a one-day walkout as civil disobedience to marshal support for new taxes and revenue for public education. The union will decide a week whether to authorize it. CPS said any strike before an official "fact-finding" period ends may would be illegal.

Some principals have been instructed to warn teachers to show up and not use benefits-time to account for their absence without proof of medical need.

"I've watched this sort of situation, these negotiations, since I was a child and it seems to be kind of a never-ending cycle," said parent Brittany Larsen.

Back in Edison Park, the community-minded thespians are doing an improv skit on schools facing budget issues and hope that by inviting kids to their space, the spirit of improv makes public education work.

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