CPS to parents: Hold the phone on those informational meetings we promised
BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2012 8:04PM
Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean Claud Brizard .FILE Photo | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Here is the text of the robocall parents received last week from Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard:
“In response to your concern, CPS will host informational community meetings across the city to explain the negotiation process. If you would like someone to contact you with more information about the meetings, please press 1 and my staff will call you with the details.
“Thank you for your continued support of Chicago Public Schools students.’’
Updated: June 20, 2012 8:19PM
Thousands of Chicago parents who answered the phone, only to hear the voice of city Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard personally invite them to an “informational’’ meeting about teacher contract talks will have to wait at least a month to get their information.
Chicago Public School officials revealed Wednesday that they are postponing the parent meetings because they now realize they can’t fully answer parent questions until closed-door sessions with a fact-finder conclude in mid-July.
“We are personally calling every parent that RSVPed for the event to notify them that the event is postponed,” said Robyn Ziegler, a CPS spokeswoman.
Last week, thousands of parents received robocalls from Brizard, telling them that “many of our parents and community members may have questions about the contract negotiations” with the Chicago Teachers Union. Earlier that same week, the CTU announced that nearly 90 percent of their members had voted to authorize a strike if talks cannot reach a resolution.
“In response to your concern, CPS will host informational community meetings across the city to explain the negotiation process,’’ Brizard said during the robocall. Parents were instructed to “press 1’’ for more information and “my staff will call you with the details.’’
Ziegler said CPS received “a lot of positive response’’ to the robocalls, but also a lot of “very specific questions,’’ including requests for details about contract proposals and counterproposals, as well as teacher compensation.
Due to ongoing contract talks with a fact-finder, these were “questions that cannot be answered right now,’’ Ziegler said in an email.
“So we made a decision to hold off on the meetings because we respect the fact-finding process. We want to allow the process to play out as it should and we didn’t want to create a situation that was more frustrating than helpful,” Ziegler said.
The fact-finder’s recommendation is due to be released July 16, and parent meetings will most likely be held in August, Ziegler said.