CTU files unfair labor practices charge against CPS

September 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The union alleges CPS has unlawfully imposed changes in working conditions and has filed charges with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. According to a release, those changes include "canceling annual longevity pay increases (known as Step increases), discontinuing a longevity sick leave benefit, and imposing new teacher evaluation procedures beyond what is required by the new state teacher evaluation law known as PERA."

Meanwhile, confusion and anxiety abound as parents await word from school administrators on details of their so-called contingency plan if teachers do walk the picket line on September 10th.

At a local nanny placement firm, calls from CPS parents have doubled in recent days.

Some families are asking about all-day care even though CPS, if there's a strike, will have places for kids to go for the morning.

"When dual-working parents don't know where their kids are going to be, it's very concerning to them. And they want consistency for kids is the most important thing," said Erin Krex, First Class Care.

It could be the end of the week when CPS unveils its strike contingency plan, identifying the 145 school sites that'll be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday at Ogden School, some parents were getting restless.

"It's Wednesday, and you got three more school days, and I mean there's a lot of parents out here who got to figure out what they got to do, and how they got to do it," said Chuck Middleton, CPS parent.

"They may stay with family or other alternatives. I'm still working on that. I'm just waiting to hear what I have to do," said Latoya Cox, CPS parent.

It's not just parents who are getting ready. At least two Sylvan Learning Centers, including one in the 700-block of East 87th Street, plan to be open during school hours if there's a strike.

Sylvan Learning Center director Ian Coburn says tuition will be free for kids who register in advance and they'll have access to iPads and small group learning programs.

"Keep them in that mind frame that they continue to learn all the time," said Coburn. "If they miss too much school, they get out of that mind frame, every parent knows that it can be harder to get them acclimated when school goes back on."

Some students were worried Wednesday.

"They shouldn't go on strike, so people won't be sad. And the children would see the teachers again," said Courtney Cox, CPS student.

"It's nerve-wracking for a parent because their kids need some sort of plan," said Krex. "And if the children don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, they get very confused."

Sylvan Learning Center on 87th Street in Chicago: 773-288-8888

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