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Is Another Strike in the Future for Chicago Public Schools?

Is Another Teachers Strike in the Future for Chicago Public Schools?

The last teachers’ strike in Chicago occurred in 2012 and was the first teacher strike in the district in over 25 years.

Just three years later, the district may face another strike as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) threatens to approve one should “local officials balance their severely out-of-whack budget with massive firings,” said The Chicago Tribune.

"The district, which serves about 400,000 students at more than 600 schools, faces a $1.1 billion structural deficit and thousands of possible teacher layoffs after Christmas,” says ChicagoBusiness.com.

The state’s budget statement could mean approximately 5,000 teachers could face layoffs in February.

As Chicago Public School teachers begin to negotiate a new contract, union officials say the results of a practice vote released earlier this week revealed 97 percent of teachers are ready to strike if necessary.

CPS officials have publicly urged CTU to take threats of a strike off the table and instead join them in the state’s capital to pressure state legislators for more funding for the fourth largest school district in the U.S.

But CTU president Karen Lewis says the looming layoffs will be damning to Chicago’s schools and students, saying the "layoffs would require reprogramming nearly 700 schools, and they would affect between 175,000 and 300,000 students, depending on how the layoffs are structured,” according to NBC Chicago

The last teachers’ strike in CPS resulted in an eight-day holiday for the district’s 350,000 children and drew national attention towards teachers’ issues. Lewis was president of CTU at that time, as well. 

Should a strike actually happen, 75 percent of the union members must approve. Though it’s too early to assume a strike is imminent, it’s noteworthy that the union is preparing through its test of collecting the vote and teacher sentiment.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/11/2015

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