Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted Wednesday to approve a one-day school walkout on April 1.
The union has said the “April 1 showdown” would address the lack of a state budget that has affected school funding.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Wednesday teachers are encouraged to picket in morning and gather downtown with other unions at the Thompson Center for a rally.
"We want them to know structural funding needs to change," Lewis said. "We'd like to get this settled at some point or we'll continue to be in same position."
Lewis added that the walkout is legal, and that negotiations are set to take place Thursday.
“We are asking for people to take a stand around a social issue which is whether we are going to have public schools in the city,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “This is about teachers and other educators taking a stand with urgency to say fund our schools, fund our public institutions. It’s a matter of necessity.”
In a statement, Chicago Public Schools criticized the union’s plan, saying “instead of focusing on reaching an agreement, it is disappointing to see the CTU’s leadership promoting a strike that would potentially take a critical day of instruction away from our students.”
“With a billion dollar budget deficit next year and a nearly $700 million state-mandated pension payment looming, Chicago’s students need their leaders to work together to convince Springfield to provide meaningful revenue reforms – not go on strike," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “In coming days, CPS will provide additional details about contingency plans for families that cannot make alternate arrangements for April 1.”
The walkout would mean CPS schools would be shut down for the second Friday in row after schools will close March 25 as part of three unpaid furlough days for teachers.
CTU leadership has admitted that some teachers have concerns about the walkout.