Scholarships, health insurance, state champs: What’s in jeopardy for students, teachers during strike

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CHICAGO — As the CPS teacher’s strike marks one week, people not involved in the negotiations are starting to lose opportunities and income

The impact of the strike is becoming very real this for student-athletes who will be forced to sit out during the IHSA playoffs and for the teachers themselves who will miss a paycheck, and soon their health insurance.

Some parents too are feeling the pressure, like Shirin Poonja. Her 6-year-old daughter Safina is a CPS first grader.

“During the strike we’ve been trying to entertain ourselves by going to the various parks,” Poonja said.

She’s stayed home from work this week but said it can’t go on much longer.

“I’m a physician, so I would be at work,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to take some time off to be with her this week not knowing how long this is going to last.”

Anne-Marie Finger is a retired teacher and is watching her grandkids during the strike.

“That’s what grandparents are for,” she said.

Still, she said she knows the pressure is mounting.

“One would hope that both sides would use that feeling of crisis to work especially hard to reach an agreement,” she said.

Chicago public schools could stop contributing to teachers’ health insurance premiums as early as next week.

Chuck lair is a second-grade teacher at Coonly Elementary. He said while some teachers are dipping into savings, many live paycheck-to-paycheck and will feel the impact soon because there’s no special strike fund set up by the union.

“If you’ve got medical stuff you have to go to COBRA, which is really expensive, so that puts pressure,” he said. “We don’t get paid anything by the union.”

Another consequence of the strike is the impact on athletics. At the Daley Center Thursday lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of CPS student-athletes asking that they be allowed to compete during the strike.

“We are going to be going to be seeking a motion for a temporary restraining order to prohibit IHSA and CPS from preventing our student-athletes from competing this weekend and throughout the state series,” attorney Kevin Sterling said.

Some students are worried about losing the chance at a scholarship.

On Friday,  some football players plan to share their disappointment with Lightfoot.

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