CHICAGO (CN) - Chicago teachers look to carry out a massive strike Friday in protest of budget cuts, contract disputes and school closures that have left the city's school system in turmoil.
The Chicago Public Schools system found itself in the national spotlight two weeks ago, when presidential candidate Bernie Sanders ran an attack ad against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's education policy.
Massive school closures and a $1.1 billion budget deficit have plagued the system for the past few years and increased tensions between teachers and administrators.
The Chicago Teachers Union first announced the strike earlier this week. The Chicago Tribune reports that teachers hope to publicize contract disputes and increase pressure on Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to increase school funding.
The article quoted a chief education officer as stating that the city's public school system would not discipline strike participants. She said: "If teachers are not able to come to work, we will not seek mass discipline against the rank-and-file teachers."
However, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool slammed the union, saying: "The leader of the [union] announced on television this week that her members would not honor a court-ordered injunction anyway from a judge, which magnifies the lawlessness of this action."
In a Thursday interview with ABC News, Claypool added: "We are extremely disappointed that 340,000 children are being deprived of their education tomorrow. I think we also need to make it clear that it's time to end the gamesmanship."
The strike falls on a day off for students, though it did force the cancellation of some athletic activities. It may also leave many parents in need of caretaking for their children.
ABC News reported that, to prepare for the strike, the city has a contingency plan under which parents can drop their children off at various schools, libraries and parks even if teachers do not show up.
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