No school for CPS on Good Friday, 1st of 3 furlough days

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Friday is the first of three furlough days for Chicago Public Schools. (WLS)

Friday is the first of three furlough days for Chicago Public Schools.

CPS says this will help the district save an estimated $30 million as it works toward reaching a new budget and contract agreement with the teachers union.

Beginning their day with a game of Uno, several CPS students took advantage of citywide YMCA programs, which working parents said was a great option for the first furlough day.

"When you live in a big city you are faced with certain problems, you have to deal with it the best way you can," said CPS parent Jeff Stahl.

At Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, teachers and 7th grade students went ahead with a previously-scheduled field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum despite the furlough day.

"Our education comes first before anything else," said student Carolina Ramos.

"Our 7th grade team is continuing to go forward with their educational field trip to the Holocaust museum because they will not allow CPS to tell us when we can and cannot learn," said Andrea Calhoun, a teacher at Prieto.

Along with the lost pay from the furlough day, teachers will lose another day of pay for the planned CTU walk out on Friday, April 1. While Prieto parents came to campus to protest the furlough day, they support their teachers' one-day strike.

"April 1st is a day demanding revenue for our city to say we no longer short-change our students," said CTU member Rebecca Martinez.

At Bridgeport's Mark Sheridan Elementary School, parents aren't taking sides. Instead, they used the day off as a teaching moment for their kids by cleaning up the school grounds.

"Our kids should be in school right now. We know CPS has issues, CTU has issues, but we don't get to take the day off," said parent Vincent Johnson.

"I think it's an important message to let everyone know that no matter what side you're on, school is going to be here. Kids need to be educated and we need to show support," said parent Kristin Komorowski.

The Mark Sheridan parents plan to spend the April 1 CTU walk out day back at school doing some spring planting.

CPS says it chose Good Friday as the first furlough day because thousands of CPS teachers and staff had already planned to take the day off as a holiday.
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