Interim Chicago Public Schools chief Terry Mazany on Wednesday proposed a plan that would fold eight schools into six others.
"The proposed school actions would provide better and more complete educational environments for students," he said.
The proposal coincided with the presentation of an updated budget analysis showing the district with an estimated budget gap of $720 million in 2012. A big reason for the shortfall, Mazany said, is the loss of one-time federal stiumulus money.
Mazany said the proposed consolidations "should come as no surprise to anyone."
"They have been under consideration for some time, and we need to move forward in order to give our students a better opportunity to succeed," said Mazany.
The head of the Chicago Teacher's Union said the consolidation would mean that teachers would be laid off and that students' lives would be disrupted.
"The board has a moral obligation to honor its promises and stop these consolidations and closings," said Karen Lewis.
But Mazany, reiterating that the plan was still in its early stages, said the affect on students would be minimal.
"There are 700 students that would be moved physically to a different facility. The vast majority of those 3,500 students will remain in the same building," he said.
He confirmed, though, that up to 100 teacher positions would be eliminated. Those teachers would be considered for reassignment. Eight principals, of which only four have a contract, would lose their jobs.
Despite those human costs, Mazany said the move was "imperative."
"We cannot simply push this down the road any farther," he said.
The Chicago Tribune has a breakdown of the proposed consolidations. The next step is to conduct public meetings to get community input. The final list of proposed school actions to the board is expected at an April 27 meeting.