CHICAGO— The Chicago Teachers Union, parents and community groups are using the Veteran’s Day holiday to march against the school board over proposed school closings.
Currently, there is not an official list of specific schools being targetted, but the number could be high because CPS officials say half of its schools are under-used and nearly 140 are more than half-empty.
Protesters held a rally and march downtown near Illinois and St. Clair streets. Several labor and community groups participated in the protest. They call their movement, “Stand Up Chicago.”
After the rally, protesters marched to a Hyatt Hotel. Organizers say the hotel chain receives TIF dollars – money that could be used to keep public schools open.
CPS has traditionally dealt with failing schools by closing them or replacing the faculty and staff. Protesters argue that this tends to hurt lower income and minority students.
State law requires CPS to make public a list of schools it wants to close by December 1st. New Schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett will ask the Illinois General Assembly to extend that deadline to March 31st. CPS has said they need the extra time to get public input.
The CTU sees that as a move to crush any opposition.
Protesters are also angry over public dollars for private-run charter schools.