Chicago Public School teachers have until Saturday to call for a walk-out ahead of the first day of school. It's getting to the point where Mayor Rahm Emanuel could step in and come to the bargaining table.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports the mayor would consider brokering a deal himself to help school to start on time. Emanuel wants to bring in a new team of education experts, possibly from Washington, to the negotiation table with teachers. If all else fails, he said he'll summon the two sides into his office to work it out.
Most Chicago students return to class Sept. 4, the same day Emanuel is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention.
Union delegates on Wednesday voted to give CTU president Karen Lewis the go-ahead to issue a 10-day strike notice at her discretion.
The Board of Education also prepared for a possible strike, authorizing $25 million in spending if a work stop were to occur.
Teachers have picketed at schools all week long, and Lewis on Friday will make the group's case to the public at the 95th Street Red Line station. The teachers have been working without a contract since June, and negotiations have been slow.
Emanuel also has visited schools and has stressed the point that more than 100,000 students already have started school and they should not have their education disrupted.
"I believe that as long as all the parties stay focused on our children, we will work through all the other issues because our kids are our priority," Emanuel said Wednesday at a separate event. "They deserve an education and nobody wants to see a strike, and it's not necessary."
Lewis said negotiations are still far apart.