Chicago Schools Details Its Strike Contingency Plan
Chicago Public Schools put in place a contingency plan listing 144 schools that would provide limited services to students affected by a possible teachers strike next week.
Chicago Public Schools on Thursday put in place a contingency plan listing 144 schools that would provide limited services to students affected by a possible teachers strike next week.
The district stressed that the facilities should be considered a last resort for parents who have exhausted all other means of finding suitable child care.
"We want to make sure the children have a safe place to go, but we are asking parents to be prepared and identify a place for the children beforehand," said CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler. "We're not going to turn anyone away, but parents should apply all other options first."
With 85 percent of CPS students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch, officials said they would provide two free meals a day at the facilities.
Chicago parks and public libraries will be open during their normal business hours, and additional staff will be added in the event of a strike, officials said. However, only the sites in what the district is calling its "Children First" plan will provide food and other services.
In addition to the 144 schools that will be open, 60 churches and faith-based centers also will be open in the event of a strike.
These are churches that already contract with CPS to offer summer, winter and spring programs for district students to keep them off the streets. They will now be recruiting children in their communities.
The churches will offer programs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include lessons on conflict resolution, anger management and pursuing a secondary education.
Officials said the district is encouraging all faith, community and nonprofit groups to also help.
While students may register for the Children First program on-site, CPS officials have encouraged parents to sign their children up in advance to ensure that staff at the site is best prepared.
(c)2012 the Chicago Tribune
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