‘We are likely not going to see a quick settlement’: Tuesday classes canceled as CPS strike drags on

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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officially canceled classes scheduled for Tuesday, October 22 as negotiations with the Chicago Teacher's Union continue, the district announced Monday.

"As of 4 p.m., CTU has not scheduled a House of Delegates vote, which would be necessary to end their strike," the district posted on Twitter. "As a result, it will not be possible to hold classes tomorrow."

A 12-hour session of talks between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union continues Monday as more than 300,000 students miss classes for a third day.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Janice Jackson sent a letter to Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey Monday asking him to end the teacher strike while negotiations continue, but the union passed on the offer.

"We ask CTU to stay at the bargaining table and accelerate the pace, but end the strike and encourage your members to come back to work. Our students and families should not continue to bear this burden," the letter said.

Read Lightfoot's letter to the CTU here

The teachers' union took a hard pass on the mayor's request.

In a press conference Monday night, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said the strike may go on longer than anticipated.

"We are likely not going to see a quick settlement to the ongoing strike," Sharkey said.

He said Mayor Lightfoot's letter has changed his outlook on negotiations.

"I came in today with raised expectations and hope, but the letter I received today dashed my hope for a quick settlement," Sharkey said.

"For her to draw a line in the sand today with the letter, is beyond disappointing," CTU Vice President Stacy Davis said.

Davis went on to mention that if the city can afford the Lincoln Yards project, they should have enough money to come to a fair agreement.

Monday night, Mayor Lightfoot released the following statement after Monday's bargaining session.

Tomorrow, for the fourth straight school day, students from throughout the city won't be participating in the athletic competitions they've earned the right to compete in, won't be preparing their college applications with trusted school staff, and won't be in classrooms with the teachers who hold the keys to their success. We must fix that immediately and end this strike. Real progress has been made on the key contract issues that CTU identified, and written proposals to boost staffing and support overcrowded classrooms have been exchanged. We were encouraged today by the improved pace of bargaining and substantive discussions on key issues, so it is now deeply concerning to hear that CTU is pulling members of its bargaining team away from the negotiating table tomorrow at this crucial juncture. Our full team will be ready first thing tomorrow morning to continue working toward the fair contract our teachers, students, and families deserve.

WATCH ABOVE: Striking teachers rally and march in Chicago Monday afternoon as classes remain canceled for a third day

Meanwhile, teachers continue to picket outside of schools and Chicago Public Schools headquarters.

"I don't think they really started bargaining seriously, and taking us seriously, until there were 25,000 teachers and another 7,000 members of SEIU on the streets, and that's a shame," CTU President Jesse Sharkey said Monday morning.

The SEIU Local 73 union represents CPS support staff including janitors, classroom assistants, clerks and school security officers.

While touring facilities open to CPS students during the strike Monday, Lightfoot stood by her offer while saying the CTU's team needs to move faster to come up with counter proposals, saying it should take hours at this point, not days.

"This isn't about politics, it shouldn't be; it's about our children and our children are suffering," Lightfoot said.

After days of progress reported by both sides, the union says nothing has gotten done today, with the only talking Monday done with reporters. They are now proposing they bring in the Rev. Jessie Jackson mediate the talks.

Lightfoot said they could "bring in anyone," but adding someone to the process who's not versed in the details could make it tough to find a deal quickly.

"Delay is not our friend, we have to move expeditiously," Lightfoot said. "If the CTU you needs help have at it."

The two sides have gotten closer on some issues, including teacher-student ratios for preschool, and progress on keeping school counselors in their roles.

"We didn't come this far in order to give up on the things that that are going to make our schools better," Sharkey said. "We are optimistic this doesn't have to be long there needs to be a commitment of new resources."

Those things include teacher prep time, class sizes, adding support staff and putting a a nurse in every CPS school. The mayor says they've made offers on all of those issues and they would be be addressed over the length of the five-year contract.

Beyond that, she said the city's resources are limited.

"There is no more money," Lightfoot said. "Let me say that again; there is no more money."

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