Would a teachers' strike in Chicago change how state lawmakers talk about paying for Illinois' schools? Depends on whom you ask.
Teachers in Chicago could walk out of the classroom on Tuesday. State Sen. Kim Lightford, D-Chicago, doesn't think a strike would have any impact on the push to change how Illinois pays for schools across the state.
"Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are negotiating over contracts,” Lightford said. “We're talking in the governor's (school-funding) commission about an outdated formula that's not equitable, that's not adequate," Lightford said.
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But downstate Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Normal, said Chicago teachers want more money even though the school district lost 14,000 students just this past year.
"I don't think there's a lot of sympathy in the state for Chicago schools," Barickman said of the possible strike. "I think there's plenty of sympathy for the kids, but I don't think there's going to be a lot of sympathy for the people who decide to strike."
Chicago schools could lose millions of dollars because of its enrollment losses. Barickman said that changes the conversation on the governor's commission about a hold-harmless provision and CPS' constant requests for more money from the state.