Teachers, parents and union officials gathered Wednesday to once again voice their anger toward Chicago Public Schools, this time in protest of more than 3,000 staff layoffs in two months and proposed funding for a new sports arena.
"More than 2,000 teachers and school employees were laid off this past Friday due to the Chicago Public Schools' failure to generate revenue to offset its alleged billion-dollar budget deficit," the Chicago Teachers Union said in a statement.
As part of its protest and march, the CTU says it will demand that Gov. Pat Quinn not support a bill authorizing financing for the construction of a 10,000-seat basketball arena for DePaul University.
The CTU said there should be no such public financing when the school district is "being decimated by massive budget cuts."
In response, CPS officials maintained that a $400 million increase in pension payments drives the district's $1 billion deficit.
"The lack of pension reform in Springfield has brought this crisis into each of our schools, which is why we need meaningful pension reform to protect classroom investments in student learning and maintain the steady progress being made by our students," spokeswoman Becky Carroll said.
Carroll said the district has taken "every step available" to keep cuts minimal in classrooms but it's not enough to prevent some difficult decisions.
She said a $50 million TIF subsidy "is not going to solve our structural deficit."