Forrest Claypool Letter to Parents on CTU Day of Action, April 1, 2016

Thu, 03/17/2016
Photo of teachers striking.

Dear Network and School Leaders,

We’re writing today with the first of many updates regarding April 1st -- the CTU’s “Shut Down” Day of Action. We want to use this opportunity to share what we know, and what the next steps are.

What We Know
CTU leadership has proposed a “shut down” Day of Action on April 1, 2016, asking teachers to boycott schools and participate in picket lines and rallies throughout the day. While this action amounts to an illegal one-day strike, CTU President Karen Lewis has explained this as “an extra holiday.”  This misleading language continues to cause confusion for staff and families.

The CTU House of Delegates will vote on this proposal on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.  

Contingency Planning and Resources
We will not make a final decision on our district’s status until that vote occurs.  Our priority remains the best interest of our students, who depend on us for safe spaces, warm meals, and an academic environment.  If there is a strike, we know we cannot replicate all that teachers provide, but we will lead by example - doing what is best for our students and families.

In between now and then, we ask that you continue brainstorming contingency options for your school -- as we are at Central Office.  Once a final decision is made, we’ll come to you with a host of appropriate resources - sample schedules, communications to parents, extra support from Central Office staff, etc.

Next Steps
While there are still big unanswered questions about this “Day of Action,, there are two immediate actionable steps we’re asking you to take.

First, attached you’ll find a letter to parents communicating this message and providing information on how to stay informed.  This should be distributed today.  If possible, we ask that this is distributed by email to parents, instead of, or addition to, being sent home with students.

Second, please use the following guidance to inform your staff of how benefit day requests will be handled forApril 1, 2016.  This information should also be shared today.

  • CTU has called CPS employees to boycott school on April 1, 2016.  That is a call for a strike.  The action is illegal under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Employees who participate will be engaging in illegal actions and therefore are subject to discipline.
  • Employees who participate in this strike will not be paid on April 1, 2016 and are not eligible to use benefit time.
  • CPS policy permits sick day benefit time only for the personal illness of an employee or a person who is a dependent of the employee.  Fraudulent use of benefit time is dishonest and violates CPS’s disciplinary rules.  Employees who do are subject to discipline.
  • Requests for sick leave benefit time use on April 1, 2016 will not be granted unless supported by a medical provider's certification.
  • Requests for personal business day use on April 1, 2016 will not be granted unless the employee has an emergency and submits both credible evidence of the emergency and a demonstrated need to be absent on April 1st.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to lead through this challenge - and we’ll be in touch again soon.

​Forrest Claypool                                         Janice K. Jackson
Chief Executive Officer                               Chief Education Officer