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FY15 Budget

Children First 

CPS Plan to Provide Students with Essential Services in the Event of a CTU Strike



Despite CTU leaders setting a strike date of Monday September 10, all CPS schools are open today and through the end of the week and all students should be in the classroom.  CPS will continue to update this site on a regular basis for news and information surrounding contract negotiations, a possible Chicago Teacher’s Union strike and CPS’ children first plan to provide students with essential services in the event that the leadership of the CTU decides to strike.


Children First Plan


Chicago Public Schools is taking preliminary steps to implement its “Children First” plan to provide students with essential services should the Chicago Teachers Union leadership choose to strike. The plan includes providing breakfast and lunch, a safe environment, and positive, engaging activities for students at approximately 145 District sites. CPS will partner with City Sister Agencies and Departments, faith organizations, non-profits and other stakeholders to ensure students receive the support they need in the event of a CTU strike.


We must always put our kids first in all we do as a District, and implementing a contingency plan will allow us to do that should there be a strike. More than 140,000 kids are already in school benefiting from the Full School Day and we want their peers to stay in class learning with their teachers after they start school on September 4. No one would be hurt more by a strike than our children, which would disrupt their learning and the progress being made as part of the full day. That's why we're committed to staying at the negotiating table – every day if needed – until we reach a fair resolution that keeps our students in class where they belong. But if CTU leadership decides to strike, we have an obligation and responsibility to provide for them.


Under the Children First plan, CPS will collaborate with our partners at the City, including the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Fire and Police Departments, and the Office of Emergency Management, in providing children a safe environment and positive activities they need and deserve.


CPS and its partners are committed to doing everything possible to put children first and provide them with essential services if needed, including:

  • Keep approximately 145 school sites open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Instruction will not be provided, students will participate in positive activities to keep them engaged, including independent reading and writing, arts and journaling, sports activities, computer-based programming, among others.
    • Elementary and high school students would attend separate designated facilities to address their unique needs.
  • Staffing open sites with Central Office staff and other non-CTU employees as well as organizations who will be invited to submit a request for proposals (RFP) to help staff schools and provide programming.
    • Staff-to-student ratio would be capped at 1 to 25.
  • Providing daily nutrition services to all students attending a site, including breakfast and lunch.
  • Partnering with City Sister Agencies to provide additional options for families and children such as:
    • Working with the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Police and Fire Departments to ensure safety and provide additional services.


Resources and Documents


  • Chicago Public Schools Children First: Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Read the letter from CEO Jean-Claude Brizard to CPS parents outlining the essential services the District will provide students in the event CTU leadership chooses to strike.
  • Read and download the fact sheet on the CPS Children First Plan to Provide Students with Essential Services in the Event of CTU Strike.
  • CPS Children First Staff Assignment Form


Impact of a Possible CTU Strike on Students


A CTU strike would have a dramatic impact on students across the district, particularly in the areas of:


  • Instruction: Students would not have access to instruction.
  • Sports: Varsity games and practices would be cancelled, impacting the approximately 11,000 high school students who play fall sports, including: Football, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Cross Country, Golf, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball; in some sports, such as Football, many student athletes could be shut out from participating in playoff and championship games.
  • Nutrition: More than 400,000 daily hot breakfasts and lunches would not be served to students who need them. (84 percent of students, or more than 338,000 kids, qualify for the CPS free and reduced lunch program).
  • High School Seniors: Seniors applying to college could have key elements of their admissions process delayed—the sending of their transcripts, ACT scores and teacher recommendations.
  • Assessments: 20,000 high school juniors could miss practice tests for the ACT, and students in programs like International Baccalaureate (IB) could miss key coursework needed to prepare for exams.



In the coming days, additional information and details will be made available as needed, including site locations and resources for families.

  • Families, continue to check cps.edu for the latest information.
  • In the event of a strike, parents will be encouraged to register their child online at a Children First Site closest to their home.
  • CPS will provide a guide with free online educational tools, materials and resources for students, separated by and appropriate to each grade level, to help facilitate learning in the event of a strike.
  • Read our Frequently Asked Questions about the Children First plan.