CHICAGO - Facing a $1 billion deficit this summer and an upcoming five-year moratorium on school closings, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public School officials announced at 5 PM Thursday that 54 schools were to close this summer, displacing 30,000 students and laying off 1000 teachers.
Among reasons for the CPS closures were poorly-performing schools and buildings in need of repair. The district said the closings will save $560 million in capital costs, plus another $43 million in operating costs — over the next 10 years. An interactive map of school closings is HERE.
The announcement was made on a conference call with media, and neither Mayor Emanuel nor CPS head Barbara Byrd-Bennet were on the call. Mayor Emanuel and his family were on a skiing trip.
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis was outraged by the announcement, the number of teacher layoffs and the fact that Mayor Emanuel chose to announce just before the spring break.
“This is cowardly and it’s the ultimate bullying job. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, you should be ashamed of yourself," Lewis said in the Sun-Times report. “We will not allow them to wreak havoc on our schools and our city, this will not be Detroit.”
The CTU is already planning a rally Saturday at Daley Plaza to ramp up public opposition to the closings.