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CPS strike make-up days cut into vacations

Updated Friday, September 28 at 2:45 p.m.

Vacation plans for many families with student in Chicago Public Schools got turned upside down today.

Students at Chicago Public Schools will have less vacation this year, to make up for the seven days missed while teachers were on strike.

And many families will have to adjust their Spring Break plans, now that CPS and teachers union officials have switched it from the first week in April to the last week in March.

A district spokeswoman said because of the strike, CPS needed to adjust when the third quarter ended and didn't want students to be off the week before the end of the quarter.  Third quarter now ends on April 11 instead of March 28.

Students on the Track E year-round calendar will have to be in school during some of the fall break (October 15-19), on Presidents' Day in February, and one day at the end of the year, June 19.

Students on the Track R traditional calendar will have to go to school during some of their winter break (January 3-4), on Presidents' Day, and for four days at the end the school year (June 19-21, and 24).

Presidents' Day was supposed to be a holiday this year, while Columbus Day was not. Due to the tentative contract agreement, next year there will be no school on Columbus Day, but there will be school on Presidents' Day.

But parents are not happy with the changes.

Jonathan Goldman’s daughters go to Drummond elementary school, where an upcoming two-week break got cut back to one.

"Many of us had plans to go away. My family did, we were planning on leaving two weeks from tomorrow on our annual family camping trip," Goldman said.

District officials shifted spring break up a week and cut out days from other breaks to make up for the seven days lost during the teachers strike.

That’s caused a flurry of confusion and concern from parents who planned vacations based on the calendar released last spring.

"I know people who have plane tickets purchased and hotel reservations and, you know, that’s all up in the air now," Goldman said.

June Coutre is a parent and local school council member at Haines Elementary School in Chinatown. She said she understands that the district can't please everyone, but she feels like the way CPS announced the changes completely disregarded parents.

The annoucment came in a press release late last night, with no mention of the Spring Break change and as of Friday afternoon there were both old and new calendars posted on the CPS website.


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