CPS says schools will remain open if teachers strike

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If teachers walk off the job next week, all Chicago public school buildings will remain open for students — and have breakfast and lunch for those who show up.

That’s what the Chicago Public Schools shared Tuesday in contingency plans preparing for a possible teachers’ strike. School officials also encouraged parents who would be able to keep their children at home to do so.

CPS has budgeted $15 million so far to keep schools open during a strike. School officials have declined to say how many strike days that money would cover.

They do say they’re working to avoid a strike and believe it’s possible to reach a contract agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union before the Oct. 11 strike deadline.

In the event a strike happens, “No CPS students will be turned away from any school, though high-schoolers are required to go to high schools and elementary school students are required to go to elementary schools,” CPS officials said in a press release.

With no teachers present, classes would be canceled, but schools would offer online learning, and physical education and arts-and-crafts activities for students who have no other place to go.

All non-CTU members — including central office staffers — would help keep kids engaged at school sites. More information, including specific locations, is available at www.cps.edu/strikeplan.

CPS busing would be cancelled, but the Chicago Transit Authority plans to offer free transportation to CPS students between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on any strike days.

Charter school students aren’t affected because their teachers aren’t part of the CTU.

As was the case in 2012 when CTU members walked off the job for seven school days, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Libraries, and Safe Haven programs across the city would provide families with alternative child care options.

Safe Passage routes around many schools also would continue as usual, but all before- and after-school activities would be canceled.

A CPS spokesman didn’t return calls seeking additional details.

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