District picks schools, churches to stay open if teachers strike

Children would be cared for at sites around city.

September 6, 2012

Becky Vevea/WBEZ
Fifth graders at an UNO charter school read during class. Students at charter schools will not be affected by a strike because their teachers do not belong to the Chicago Teachers Union.

With just three days left before teachers could go on strike, Chicago Public Schools is announcing the details of its backup plan.

CPS will keep 144 school buildings open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for meals and other "engaging activities" next week in the event of a walk out. Parents can sign up online.

However, the release urges "all parents to first explore alternative options for their children," rather than relying first on the half-day schools.

In addition to the schools, district officials are contracting with 60 faith-based groups to offer kids a safe place to go. Many of the same groups have provided similar "Safe Haven" services during spring break and winter break.

WBEZ education reporter Becky Vevea came on Eight Forty-Eight to discuss the impending CTU strike

The Board of Education gave the district approval to spend up to $25 million on a "strike contingency plan" last month.

District officials and the Chicago Teachers Union have been negotiating since November. Talks were scheduled all week, but as of Thursday afternoon, no agreement had been reached. Last week, union delegates set a strike date for Monday, September 10, and held firm on that plan during their most recent meeting Wednesday.

Parents are also making their own backup plans for Monday.