CPS cancels classes Monday as strike continues; mayor says deal with SEIU close

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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools canceled classes for Monday, October 28 as contract negotiations between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union continue. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said they have reached a tentative deal with SEIU Local 73 that includes a generous raise for special education assistants, security guards, bus drivers and custodians they plan to approve for ratification in the coming days. “I’m pleased to announce that the bargaining committee of SEIU Local 73 is reviewing the final terms of a deal that if approved would be submitted to members for ratification within the next couple of days,” Lightfoot said Sunday.
WATCH ABOVE: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CPS CEO Janice Jackson give update on labor negotiations As far as CTU negotiations, the mayor and head of CPS say they extremely disappointed with where things stand. Lightfoot called the deal on the table the “most generous offer in CPS history.” The latest offer puts social workers, librarians and nurses in every school in writing, as requested, Lightfoot said. Lightfoot says the union is asking for $100 million more than the city’s $500 million investment on the table, and says the money can’t be spent without raising property taxes. With no deal reached Sunday, CPS canceled classes and after-school activities Monday. “As of 4 p.m., CTU leadership has informed us that there is no possibility of a deal today. As a result, it will not be possible to hold classes tomorrow, Monday, 10/28. After school programming will not be available at CPS schools,” the district posted on Twitter. Negotiations ran for a total of 14 hours Saturday, and as they resumed Sunday officials said the gap between the two sides remains huge. Chicago Teachers Union representatives reiterated claims Sunday that the city’s latest offer is $38 million short of what the union is seeking in its most recent proposal. “There are differences of priority and value that amount to $38 million,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said. “This is deeply frustrating that we are still in neutral.” Davis Gates said the money would go towards reducing class sizes and hiring case managers, librarians and restorative justice coordinators in schools. However, CPS chief operating officer Arnie Rivera says the difference in the proposals discussed by the two sides Saturday is closer to $100 million on an annualized basis. With classes canceled for an eighth day Monday, the strike passes the 2012 walkout to become the second-longest in the history of Chicago Public Schools.
WATCH ABOVE: The Chicago Teachers’ Union provides an update on contract negotiations Two major sticking points are class sizes and staffing, with calling for nurses, librarians and social workers in every school. In a press conference Sunday morning, CPS’ Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said the negotiations are still, “stuck on some of the key issues.” “We have a robust proposal on the table that is a half billion in investments where we are far apart is the how, not the what,” McDade said. During a rally at New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Sunday afternoon, CTU members and their supporters said they are fighting for educational justice. “I’m standing here to let you all know all the members of the CTU para professionals and teachers stand strong,” CTU member Crystal William Hayes said. Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said that the district is offering a fair contract that goes toward providing what students need for an equitable education. But she says the district must be financially responsible. Teachers went on strike Oct. 17, canceling school for more than 300,000 students.

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