CHICAGO (CBS) — High school athletes could be on the sidelines if Chicago Public Schools teachers go on strike.
The CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union have been working to reach an agreement.
But if no agreement is reached by Thursday of this week, a strike will commence. And if that happens, student athletes won’t be able to participate in the upcoming Illinois state football playoffs.
“It would be very unfortunate if we can’t play, but you know, we are successful because we work within what we can control,” said Lake View High School soccer coach Jeric Johnson. “We hope that we can play on. That’s our goal.”
On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said it appeared the union was “refusing to negotiate in good faith, and instead is determined to strike at all costs,” following the most recent prior negotiating session with the Chicago Public Schools.
In a statement Friday evening, Lightfoot said the CPS negotiating team presented a 72-page contract proposal on Friday that “bent over backwards to meet CTU’s concerns,” including dropping the district’s proposed changes to teacher prep times.
According to the mayor, the CPS proposal included offers regarding the union’s concerns about class sizes; staffing for nurses, counselors, and case workers; support for homeless students; and would maintain a moratorium on new charter schools.
However, the union called the city’s latest contract proposal “a joke” that would provide only a pittance towards teachers’ demands for nurses, case managers, and social workers at every school.
In particular, CTU President Sharkey criticized the city’s offer of $1 million over the life of the contract to reduce class sizes in grades 4-12, and $2 million over the life of the contract to recruit and train new nurses, social workers, and case managers. He said that would be only enough money for two teachers and four nurses, social workers, or case managers per year for all of CPS.