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Classes ‘not anticipated’ to resume Monday as CTU contract talks continue

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CHICAGO — Classes are not anticipated to resume Monday following negotiations Saturday between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools.

Heading into the weekend, both sides reported progress on ongoing negotiations.

In a statement from the mayor's office Saturday night, Mayor Lightfoot said classes are "not anticipated" to resume Monday and that they will update parents Sunday.

Mayor Lightfoot said the city has not received full, written counteroffers from the CTU on class size or staffing, two core issues.

While we continue to bargain in good faith and have made progress, we still have not received full, written counteroffers on class size or staffing – the two core issues that CTU has identified as being essential to resolve in order to reach an agreement. It is crucial that CTU provide such counteroffers if we are to move this negotiation to a resolution. Today, we received a partial counteroffer on class size, after having updated our offer on Thursday. And we have yet to receive a counter to our updated offer on staffing, which we put forward yesterday.

These negotiations must move more swiftly so that we can get students back into school as fast as possible. Our team has been turning around thoughtful counteroffers at a rapid pace. We are hopeful that CTU will meet that pace tomorrow so we can bring this process to a fair and responsible end.

We will continue to work hard at the bargaining table, but given that critical issues have yet to be resolved, we do not at this time anticipate classes will resume on Monday. We will update families tomorrow once we have certainty about the potential for school on Monday.

Chicago Teachers Union sent the following statement following bargaining on Saturday. They said "substantial movement" was made across eight issues.

As the CTU's strike hits the midpoint of its first weekend, the CTU's rank and file bargaining team and officers announced this evening that the union has come to a tentative agreement on eight issues, with substantial movement across most of the board.

That movement includes progress on two key issues that CPS refused to discuss in over ten months of bargaining: class size and staffing needs. The sides are exchanging proposals on building enforcement mechanisms into the contract language—a critical issue if CPS' willingness to acknowledge the scope of the need is to be transformed into real gains for school communities.

Despite the challenges the strike creates for many families, strong picket lines and boisterous afternoon mass actions have dovetailed with a growing groundswell of popular support to help motivate and bolster real progress at the bargaining table. The goal remains to enshrine the mayor's promises for equity and educational justice in writing in an enforceable contract.

Bargaining continues on Sunday at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson on Chicago's West Side.

Classes for more than 300,000 students were canceled Thursday and Friday, as 25,000 Chicago Public School teachers and staff walked off the job for the Chicago Teachers Union strike.

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.

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Thursday, CTU said they were far from a deal, but they got a little closer Friday. The union said they are close to getting in writing that school counselors will not have to perform other roles while on the job.

"Today, we are close to having a contract article that says counselors are allowed to do counseling work, not lunch and recess duty, not substituting, not test coordination again and again and again," said counselor Kristy Brooks. "But actually allowed to work with students."

Following Friday's bargaining session, the mayor said the day was "encouraging."

From the start, our team has focused on building equity and targeting greater supports and investments to the areas of greatest need. We believe this is a vision we share with the Chicago Teachers Union, and so we are encouraged that today’s negotiations were productive and yielded real movement on a number of key issues, including staffing for clinical groups, special education, and supports for Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS). Today, we also presented an updated offer on staffing that would go above and beyond the unprecedented public commitments we made over the summer to hire hundreds of additional social workers, nurses and case managers while prioritizing resources for the schools that need them most. With this new offer on staffing in addition to our updated offer on class size, we are working to address the core issues that CTU has said are central to reaching an agreement – in writing. A strong sense of urgency and willingness to compromise on both sides will be essential to reaching a deal, and we are committed to bargaining in good faith so that we can create the fair agreement our students, families and teachers deserve.

Bargaining will pick back up Sunday.

Lightfoot said during a news conference at City Hall, that CPS is not planning to make up the days lost by the strike by extending the school year.

This is the first time CPS teachers have gone on strike since 2012. That strike lasted seven days.

Chicago is the nation's third largest school district.

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