Chicago is in for quite a ride over the next month.
In 30 days from today, July 19, the Chicago teachers have the right to strike if they can't come to terms with the Chicago school system. That works out to be roughly Aug. 20.
The clock began ticking Wednesday evening after both the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Teachers Union rejected contract terms recommended by an independent fact finder. The report is now available to the public and it's worth a read. Fact-finder Edwin Benn paints a dark picture of the relations between the school system and the teachers union, saying:
The "confrontation," arbitrator Benn wrote, "has all the makings of a full-scale labor-management war." And absent a "meetings of the minds across the bargaining table, the war is about to become very real."
He also noted an interesting "tragic irony:"
"The tragic irony of this case is that as incendiary as this dispute is, when it comes to the children who are impacted by this matter, both sides truly have the same goal -- to better educate the children of the City of Chicago. The parties' approaches are just so drastically different."
You can find the report here.
Also, a few developments of note on Thursday:
1. Not wasting any time: Democrats for Education Reform, which is spending big to avoid a strike and blunt the power of the teacher's union, began another round of radio ads on Thursday. These ads call on CPS and CTU to "to finalize a contract that includes a longer school day and longer school year," the group said in a press release.
2. Budget Bust: The watchdog group the Civic Federation released its analysis of CPS' proposed budget. It opposes CPS' spending plan. You can read the report here.
3. Too many protesters: The Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, a group set up by the State Legislature to analyze school facility-related decisions in Chicago, canceled a meeting planned for Thursday night because of "security concerns." Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard was to be at the meeting at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Here's the task force's explanation:
The University obtained information that several groups were planning protests and potential disruptions of the Task Force meeting. In its statement transmitted to the CEFTF late last night, the University stated, "The anticipated protest, increased attendance, and additional resource demands on the university prohibits us from hosting this event."
Plans are in the works to reschedule.