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CTU President Karen Lewis Denies Plans To Strike This Fall

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After teachers rejected a contract earlier this year and a so-called work stoppage workshop is planned for the weekend, concerns are looming that Chicago teachers are preparing for another strike.

Teachers received an email advertising a group holding a workshop this weekend that includes a session on "planning and winning strikes," with the first sentence reading "CTU is likely to strike this fall."

But Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says there's no strike planned and the workshop is part of an annual convention that happens to be in Chicago this year,

One of the most recent complaints is about CPS' proposed budget. A handful of teachers and parents heard plans for spending and improvements at a budget hearing Wednesday night, and they say their spending ideas clash with the district's.

"Now you're going to build new schools instead of fixing the old ones," one attended who attended the meeting asked. "It's affecting our children of color more than anyone else," another added.

"The children are suffering from lack of teachers."

While CPS' budget assumes those teachers will accept a contract that was voted down earlier this year, Lewis says there's no new deal on the table and describes any strike discussions taking place this coming weekend as a defensive necessity.

"You really must prepare," she said.

Lewis denied any eminent strike and downplayed the event saying the group has national conferences annually, adding this year it just happens to be in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools officials say they remain committed to reaching a fair agreement for teachers. Those educators are set to report to school on Aug. 29.

"We encourage them to attend that school," Lewis said. "It happens to just be a coincidence."

Students return to school on Sept. 6.

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