Parents warn of disruptions should Chicago Teachers Union strike in less than 2 weeks

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some parents are expressing concerns about what could happen if Chicago Public Schools teachers strike in less than two weeks, saying it would be disruptive for students and families.

The Chicago Teachers Union has set an October 17th strike date, adding urgency to negotiations with the school district.

Should the teachers union and CPS fail to reach an agreement before then, more than 360,000 kids will be out of school indefinitely.

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"We do not believe that CTU speaks exclusively for our children," Willie Preston said. "But as parents, we speak for our children, so we don't want this strike to go on. This strike puts us as parents in a difficult situation."

Preston was one of the parents rallying with community members against a potential teachers strike outside Harper High School in the West Englewood neighborhood on Friday.

At a school where a banner touts "We educate every child," members of the Black Community Collaborative said they don't want to see that education disrupted.

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Jesse Sharkey, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said they're "trying to avoid a strike."

"But we also have some principles about using opportunity, the fact that there is money in the CPS budget and there is supposedly political will in the political establishment to get some long-term and meaningful improvements in our schools," Sharkey said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said schools will remain open in the event of a strike, staffed by administrators and non-union personnel. But any days missed because of the work stoppage will not be made up.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot holds a news conference a day after the Chicago Teachers Union set a strike date of October 17.

"Either that's an attempt to intimidate us, which is misplaced, or it shows lack of understanding about the way this process works," Sharkey said.

If there is a strike, extracurricular activities and sports would be cancelled.

"Don't strike because we love football," said La-Vell Ingram, who plays on the high school's football team. "We are talking about all of us. Don't strike."

Parents are making their own contingency plans, just in case.

"If we have to open our homes to students, we will do so," said Tanesha Peeples, of the Black Community Collaborative. "We will also work with clergy to open their church doors to give our students a safe haven while they are out of school."

Negotiations will continue next week with each day adding urgency to getting a deal done.
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