CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s teachers union scheduled a meeting of members Wednesday that could lead to the suspension of a strike that has cancelled classes for 10 days, but union leaders continued to demand concessions from the city’s mayor.
Chicago Teachers Union officials said in a statement that they want to bring a potential agreement to the 700 elected House of Delegates representing the city’s schools on Wednesday evening, as long as Mayor Lori Lightfoot commits to adding school days to make up time lost to the strike.
Eric Ruder, a CTU spokesman, confirmed that delegates are meeting Wednesday night. He said any vote would be contingent on the mayor and Chicago Public Schools agreeing to add makeup days.
Lightfoot previously said she won’t extend the school year.
A message left with her office was not immediately returned on Wednesday. According to union materials, teachers are not paid for school days spent on strike.
The mayor said Tuesday evening that she had sweetened the city’s offer, committing more money to reduce class sizes and boost long-term teachers’ pay. The following morning, she said she was hopeful the delegates would agree to end the strike and reopen classrooms for the first time since the strike began Oct. 17.
“This has been a long journey,” Lightfoot said. “Unfortunately, I think there’s a lot of harm that has been done to our young people.”
Union leaders have said the body’s 25,000 members will have to consider the “risks and rewards” of continuing a strike.
Meanwhile, several high school football teams that are at risk of being locked out of the state playoffs if the walkout endures got a temporary reprieve Wednesday.
The Illinois State High School Association said in a news release that the school district agreed to let the teams to practice during the strike. They would not be able to play in games on Saturday if the strike hasn’t been settled by then.
The announcement came just in time for 19 schools whose teams qualified for the state playoffs because IHSA rules require teams from schools where teachers are on strike to practice for three days before they play a game.
The teams can only practice if they find coaches that have the proper certification or meet various requirements. The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many of the schools had found coaches.