Chicago’s mayor and public school leader announced Friday that their “last, best, and final offer” is currently on the table as they work to come to an agreement with the teachers union over the safe reopening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
The development was revealed in a joint statement issued by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Janice Jackson one day after the mayor made an impassioned plea to the union to strike a deal immediately as students suffering from “failing grades, depression [and] isolation… cannot afford to wait any longer.”
“Yesterday afternoon, we received a counter proposal from CTU [Chicago Teachers Union] leadership and responded with our last, best, and final offer,” the statement said. “We expect a response from CTU leadership today. We will be making further statements later today about school on Monday.”
CPS originally planned on welcoming K-8 children back for in-person learning this past Monday but has kept pushing back that date, as the union has instructed teachers to continue working remotely during negotiations.
“Our goal is, and has always been, a mutually agreed upon safe reopening plan for our schools,” the Chicago Teachers Union said Thursday. “These decisions, however, cannot be made unilaterally in a vacuum. They require buy-in from all stakeholders in our school communities, and we will continue to lift democracy in soliciting feedback from educators and families in bargaining for the safe return that our students deserve.”
The timing of Lightfoot and Jackson’s future announcements Friday was not immediately clear.