CPS CEO Brizard Letter to CTU President Karen Lewis 


September 12, 2012
 

Jean-Claude Brizard

Chief Executive Officer

September 12, 2012

Ms. Karen Lewis

President, Chicago Teachers Union

222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza

Chicago, Illinois 60654

 

Dear Karen,

 

Last week I spoke directly to 35,000 parents who were extremely concerned about a potential strike and the disruption it could cause for our students and their families. Since then, thousands more have called our office, the City’s 311 office and visited our website seeking resources from Chicago Public Schools’ Children First contingency sites so that their children can remain safe in the protected environment that we have provided at each site. While I am happy to report that the sites have run smoothly, I am disheartened to learn that your members are going out of their way to protest and picket our Children First sites. Our families are having a hard enough time as it is and the protest targeting our contingency sites are only making the situation more difficult.

 

As I mentioned in my last letter to you, to which I am seeking a formal response to, we owe it to Chicago’s children to spare them from the experience of getting caught in the middle of a dispute among adults -- something they should not have to endure. While negotiations continue, I hope that we both agree that the safety of our children must come first.

 

Our Children First sites are here to support families who have no alternative arrangements for their kids and to provide breakfast and lunch to our neediest students. As you know, 84 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch and more than 15,000 of our students are without a home. No parent or student should be faced with the trauma of crossing a picket line simply because they are in need of food and safe shelter. And no parent should be pressed to make a choice between going to work or staying home because they don’t feel safe taking their child to school.

 

Please know that CPS acknowledges that it is the legal right of your members to picket outside of any CPS facility while on strike. With nearly 600 Chicago Public Schools in the system, I am again requesting that the Chicago Teachers Union voluntarily not picket outside any of the 147 Children First locations for the remainder of your strike.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jean-Claude Brizard

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools