CPS classes canceled Tuesday as strike continues

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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools canceled classes have been canceled for Tuesday, according to their website, as contract negotiations between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union continue.

Monday's bargaining session stretched into early Tuesday morning. Following the marathon session, CTU officials said no agreement was reached and negotiations will resume at 10 a.m.

"We’ve laid out a path for settlement, we hope the city will respond," CTU General Counsel Robert Bloch said.

On Monday evening, CPS said they hoped to reach an agreement by the end of the night with the CTU, but have to remain good financial stewards for the district.

"We are a district that is still borrowing a billion dollars just to keep the lights on. Although we want to make sure we have a fair contract, we also want to make sure that we are good financial stewards,” CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said. "We believe the contract that we have on the table does both of those things. We’re going to continue to work hard tonight in hopes that we get to an agreement with CTU.”

The Chicago Teachers Union called their full bargaining team back after claiming their researchers found $100 million in the CPS budget that’s been paid over time.

“They said it’s 100 million dollars, we just found 100 dollars for them,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said. “We only need 38.... if that happens tonight, kids are back in school.”

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Marathon bargaining sessions were held over the weekend; Saturday for 14 hours and Sunday for 10.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson even sat in on talks Sunday night, which was suppose to be a signal that a deal was close at hand. But that was not the case. The union claimed Jackson walked away from the table when the issue of teacher prep time came up.

Jackson told the Chicago Tribune that was not true and CPS officials said CTU officials left the room before any CPS official.

CTU says the two sides are $38 million apart while district officials say they are $100 million dollars apart as they seek to reach a deal to end what is now the longest strike in more than 30 years.

The major sticking points are staffing and class size.

The teachers union wants counselors, nurses and librarians in every school. They are also calling for a reduction in class size.

Mayor LoriLightfoot said she agrees, but says the city doesn't have enough money to meet all of the union's demands.

She called the offer on the table the most generous in CPS history with large raises as well as concession on class sizes.

But the union says many of those concession don’t go far enough.

The district says it has offered to staff each school with nurses and counselors,  but the union is still pressing for librarians in every school.

Also Monday, SEIU Local 73, which covers 7500 CPS support staff, including special education classroom assistants, bus aides and custodians, reached a tentative agreement with CPS Sunday night. It includes a generous increase in pay for its members over five years.

Voting is taking place through Tuesday, but regardless of the outcome, SEIU said it remains in solidarity with the teachers union and will not cross the picket line until they reach a deal.

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