City prepares for school with strike threat looming

September3, 2012 (CHICAGO)

That means parents who have procrastinated getting those much needed school supplies were out in force on Monday getting their students ready.

The countdown is on for those Chicago Public School students and their parents getting supplies and gearing up for the start of the new school year.

But this year, the process is a bit more stressful as classes begin under the threat of a teachers' strike.

A concerned Trounia Hill shopped for last-minute school supplies wondering if her granddaughter's school year will end shortly after it begins.

"What's so pressing that they can't come together and just get it done for our children and avoid the strike?" she said.

A lot of Chicago Public School students head back to class not only for a longer school day, but also with the possibility educators could walk off the job after the first week of school.

"It's upsetting because we'll just start and then they'll go ahead and stop," said high school junior Kimisha Smith.

With the start of the school year just hours away, it's all unusually stressful for some.

"We don't want that for our kids, this is horrible. With this economy and they kids not getting an education, that's not good," said parent Al Masoud.

Especially if the school year comes to an abrupt halt.

"We'll just have to do buy what's best and work around that, depending on what happens," said Carmen Collins.

Still, Oak Lawn Kmart is pretty busy, despite the worry.

"We have everything you'll need to go back to school from pens, pencils, crayons to the paper," said Kmart manager Marilyn Goodwin.

The teachers union set a September 10 walkout date.

It would be the first teachers strike in 25 years.

"We have a lot of people on both sides, the teachers' side, the CPS side, working very hard to make sure that there is no strike, that our kids come to school this week, the week after and for the foreseeable future," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

And while, it appears the two sides are still struggling with several issues, including pay, both parents and their children tried to press on with the regular routine.

Meanwhile, some on this Labor Day, chose to just enjoy the last symbolic hurrah of summer.

Tuesday it is back to class.

If there is a strike, the district plans to open 145-schools for a half day.

The city's park district and libraries will also provide a safe place for students to go.

The district's charter schools will stay open if there is a strike.

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