Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Thursday, the sixth day without school, as teachers remain on strike with negotiations focused on two major issues.
"As of 4 p.m., CTU has not scheduled a House of Delegates vote, which would be necessary to end their strike," CPS said in a statement. "As a result, it will not be possible to hold classes tomorrow, Thursday, October 24. After school programming will not be available at CPS schools."
As of Thursday morning, Chicago Public Schools officials at the bargaining table said there had been as many as 80 tentative agreements so far, but the two sides appear to be at odds on two points.
"We still have really big issues on the table and we’re waiting right now for CTU to provide their counters on class size and staffing," said Latanya McDade, chief education officer for CPS.
Earlier Thursday morning, CTU's Vice President Jesse Sharkey called on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to "bring more resources to the table."
"We're trying to put together a puzzle in order to end this strike, but we don't have enough pieces on the table in order to complete the puzzle," he said. "The mayor still has a handful of pieces in her pocket. Until she takes the pieces of the puzzle out of her pocket and puts them on the table, we're not going to solve the puzzle, we're not going to complete the picture. And those pieces amount to resources."
Chicago teachers and school employees marched downtown Wednesday in a show of force amid the ongoing strike, converging on a rally outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot's first city budget address.
Thousands of people, carrying signs and chanting, marched from multiple locations into the Loop, causing rolling street closures during the morning rush hour. Commuters were advised to take public transportation if they planned to be in the area on Wednesday.
Groups from four meet-up spots on the edge of downtown all marched to City Hall, as Lightfoot was about address the City Council.
The Chicago Teachers Union said in a statement Tuesday night that the event was picket lines shifting away from more than 500 schools, into the Loop in a joint effort with members of Service Employees International Union Local 73, whose school support staff are also on strike, as well as allied organizations.
“The city is not done hearing us yet,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said Tuesday night. “Together, we’re going to win.”
Meanwhile, Lightfoot delivered her budget address on Wednesday, unveiling her long-awaited proposals to help fill an $838 million budget gap. The march and rally shifted to a sit-in on city streets as Lightfoot's address began.
With that as the backdrop, negotiations are still ongoing between the two sides in the teachers strike.
“There has to be a commitment and a will and a sense of urgency on all sides. That’s what’s going to make a difference,” Lightfoot said.
The city said its latest proposals add up to an additional $500 million more in spending for teachers and their classrooms over the next five years.
Union officials say there was a “good conversation” between the sides on Tuesday, but say they have not landed on “just terms” in those negotiations.
“We understand that we’re not going to solve all problems, but we need to see a substantial down payment and then a plan to address class sizes and other issues,” CTU Chief of Staff Jennifer Johnson said.