CHICAGO — Chicago Public School teachers are set to hit the picket line Thursday morning after the Chicago Teachers Union rejected the district's latest control proposal Wednesday evening.
Thursday classes and activities were preemptively canceled ahead of the anticipated strike to give families more time to figure out their childcare options. Teachers are set to begin the strike at 6:30 a.m.
Chicago teachers are asking for more pay, smaller class sizes and more staffing. Another sticking point of the teachers union is affordable housing. The CTU wants access to low income housing for new teachers and its estimated 16,450 homeless students.
The strike is Chicago's first major walkout by teachers since 2012. The strike will impact about 300,000 students.
During the 2012 strike, the district kept some schools open for half days during a seven-day walkout. This time, all CPS school buildings will be open during the normal school day. Students who need a safe place to go are encouraged to attend their regular school, but will be welcomed at any CPS school that is age appropriate. More on CPS's contingency plan can be found here.
Parents are encouraged to register their child online for the duration of the potential strike. While not mandatory, it helps ensure the district has enough staff and meals to serve each child. All CPS schools will serve breakfast and lunch to students.
The city has offered teachers a 16% raise over several years, but negotiations continue to stall over pay, class sizes, affordable housing and increased support staff in schools.
"Without question, the deal we put on the table is the best in the Chicago Teachers union history," Lightfoot said. "Despite all this, the Chicago Teachers Union intends to forge ahead with a strike."
CTU blamed Lightfoot for allegedly distorting the facts.
Union vice president Stacy Davis Gates said Wednesday there is a "gross disconnect" between Lightfoot's comments and what negotiators have put in writing.
"To say that you have offered a proposal that respects what we are asking for, to say you've bent over backward .... it's absolutely ridiculous," Davis Gates said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.