Contract talks between Chicago Public School leaders and Chicago Teachers Union represetnatives took a turn for the worse Friday afternoon.
The day started on a positive note with union leaders saying talks were getting better.
On Friday afternoon, the mood was much worse.
On Friday afternoon, CTU president Karen Lewis seemed anything but pleased with their current talks, saying they had gotten very intense. It's a drastic turnaround from her own positive outlook Friday morning to news crews.
School board president David Vitale sat in on negotiations Thursday, which is usually a good sign a deal is close to being done.
However, both sides are still split on issues like salary and job security and are expected to talk through the weekend if necessary.
Local religious leaders are pleading with teachers and the school board to get this deal done.
“The school year is a safety time. Children don’t get shot in school," Pfleger said, “strike cannot be an option for our children.”
Vitale agrees, saying families need to be a factor in the strike discussion.
As part of the CPS contingency plan called Children First, 60 churches will open their doors until 2 p.m. each day for students -- that's in addition to the 144 schools being opened for a half day.
Parents can now enroll for those programs through the CPS website.
The CTU blasted that plan: “It sounds like a train wreck. It calls for parents to drop off their children at holding centers for a half day of babysitting staffed by strangers, suits from Central Office and preachers. Most of these people have zero experience working with schoolchildren or large groups of teens.
On Friday afternoon, CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard sent a letter to Lewis asking her, if the teachers do strike on Monday not to picket at those 144 schools "so kids don't have to cross picket lines to get the food and safe shelter they may need."
If negotiations fail and teachers do walk out on Monday, it will be the first teachers' strike in a quarter century in Chicago. It would affect more than 400,000 public school students.