Possible CTU Strike Leaves Parents Scrambling To Make Child-Care Plans

CHICAGO (CBS)– The Chicago Teachers Union was joined by the Service Employees International Union at a rally Monday, just three days before Chicago teachers could walk off their jobs for the first time in seven years.

Negotiations started at 9 a.m., but broke off for the rally. They are expected to resume Monday afternoon and continue into the night.

This leaves many families in limbo, scrambling to make plans if school is not in session, and some come at a cost.

Many parents won’t forget Chicago’s last teacher’s strike in 2012.

“It was hard, it was difficult,” Brooke Smith of Albany Park said.

She said she only gets paid when she works. So, she lost money for child care when she stayed home.

This time around, Smith has been fortunate enough to find an affordable option for her 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son

The Albany Park Community Center is offering all-day camp for just $25 a student. It’s similar to these activities organized for Monday’s Columbus Day holiday.

Smith knows her family is among the lucky ones.

“I know some people have waiting lists and don’t have financial assistance opportunities,” she said.

Antoinette Peterson of the Albany Park Community Center said the demand is very high and they already have a waiting list.

Peterson says as soon as word of a possible strike circulated, the center began making contingency plans and relocating adult activity spaces. In spite of that, it can only accommodate 117 students.

“At the end of the day parents need to know their kids are safe and secure,” Peterson said.

There are resources available for CPS parents.

CPS Schools will be staffed and open during normal hours and students can attend their regular school, but will be welcome at any age-appropriate building.

Outside of CPS options include the area’s 10 YMCA locations for various fees, The Jewish Community Center of Chicago is charging $80 a day for full day daycare.

The Beverly Arts Center will operate a day camp for about $40 dollars a day. Space for most is limited, first come first serve.

Parents like Smith just want a strike to be avoided

“Even for now, I am hoping there won’t be because school is the best place for the kids.”

There will be no bus service in case of a strike and all after-school activities will be cancelled.