CPS and CTU prepare for possible teacher strike Tuesday

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CHICAGO -- Negotiations aimed at averting a threatened strike by Chicago Public School teachers were set to resume at noon today. But the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says it is preparing for the worst.

Teachers are picking up strike materials such as signs, flyers and banners this afternoon at CTU strike headquarters, 1642 West Van Buren Street.

The CTU says it expects negotiations to go late into the evening.

A group of parents and their children, out of school for the Columbus Day holiday, gathered down the street from Mayor Emanuel's house Monday morning, and called on him to do everything he can to avert a strike.

Union president Karen Lewis says they will call a strike if a deal is not reached by midnight tonight, and teachers would go on the picket lines starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Union leaders have outlined a $200 million wish list to offset cuts to pay and benefits.

CPS has said it continues to work within the framework of the offer it made in January, which included pay increases and other items such as a cap on the number of privately operated charter schools in Chicago.

If a strike happens, CPS says all school buildings will be kept open and staffed for parents with no alternative child care, offering a free breakfast and lunch.

The CTA will also offer free transportation for students during the duration of a potential strike, and many Chicago Park District and public libraries will have programming. Families can go to cps.edu/strikeplan and sign up for Email updates.