Parents make back-up plans for possible teachers strike

September 5, 2012

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When Amy Sprenger's youngest child starts preschool on Monday, she’ll have the house to herself for the first time in a while. 

That is, unless Chicago public school teachers go on strike.

"I’m convinced I’m going to have 2 big kids at home and one little kid in preschool so I’ll still be entertaining children at home when I should be having child-free time," Sprenger said Wednesday as her youngest daughter tugged on her arm.

But Sprenger said if teachers do strike, she’s guessing it won’t last long. 

"Once they go out [on strike], I think both sides start to lose the public opinion in their favor and they can’t afford to have that," Sprenger said.

Dianne Ramirez lives in Logan Square and her two children, who go to Darwin Elementary, will probably go to their grandma's while she's at work like they have all summer.

Ramirez said she can put up with a strike for a couple weeks, but says its “ridiculous” negotiations have gone on so long already.

Two weeks ago, the Chicago Board of Education approved a strike contingency plan with a price tag of up to $25 million. CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the district plans to open 145 schools from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for students to get meals and have a safe place to be.

Carroll said by the end of the week the district will announce which schools will remain open. She said parents will be able to sign up online or by phone using their child's student I.D. number.

Meanwhile, the school district and the Chicago Teachers Union continue to negotiate for several hours a day.