Rockford Public Schools prepare for three day strike

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Parents of thousands of Rockford Public School students who rely on the bus or eat at school are wondering what the next three days will bring.

Labor strike graphic by MGN.

Even though schools will remain open during the strike, some key employees will be missing.

Wednesday marks the start of a planned, three-day strike for Rockford Public Schools' paraprofessionals, nutrition service workers and bus drivers.

School Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett says he knows the district needs those workers to run schools, but feels staying open is the best move for students.

The district plans to accommodate all students during the strike saying:

1. Transportation to and from school or athletic events will not be provided. The only exception is for students who ride Sunrise buses. Schools will be open one hour early for parents who need to drop children off before work. Schools will dismiss at their usual time.

2. Schools will still serve breakfast and lunch. The district says kids will be eating more prepackaged meals.

3. Students who work with paraprofessionals everyday will now meet with what the district is calling "other certified, trained staff." They say students with special needs will be the priority.

Teachers and other employees who are under contract will still report to work. The district may bring in substitute teachers to provide additional support. If parents are unable to get their kids to school, they should call the main office as usual to report their absence.

Union leaders say for right now, the strike will only last three days. On Monday, everyone is expected to return to work. Now, union leaders feel the ball is in the district's court, because they say the district is not negotiating with them in good faith. No exact date has been set for future negotiations.