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Parents Protest School Budget Cuts, Seek State Audit Of CPS Budget

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Claiming the move to close 49 elementary schools won’t save any money, opponents of the Emanuel administration’s plans protested outside CPS headquarters on Monday, asking state leaders to step in.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports LSC members and parents gathered outside CPS headquarters, carrying a letter asking Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to conduct an audit of the district’s budget.

They also called on Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to issue a moratorium on the school closings. LSC members said there were alternatives to closing underperforming schools.

“You’re supposed to sit with those local school councils and figure out how to get those schools off probation. CPS has not done that. I’ve been on the local school council for 19 years, and I’ve yet to sit with an area officer to say ‘How do I get my school off academic probation?’” said Jeanette Taylor, who is on the LSCs at Mollison Elementary School and Jackie Robinson Elementary School. “They have not done their job.”

Protesters also shredded copies of the CPS budget, to denounce what they expect will be massive cuts for schools when the district finalizes its spending plan for the 2013-14 school year.

Taylor said she is furious about the cuts schools are facing.

“You’re asking us to choose between an assistant principal and whether we have a 3rd grade teacher. Those are the types of cuts we’re talking about,” she said. “The budget is due, so we have to sit down and look at these budgets, and analyze … and gauge what’s important, and that’s not fair. And we’re not signing those budgets.”

CPS has said it faces a $1 billion deficit for next school year. It has sent principals their draft budgets for next year.

While principals for the first time have been given control of their entire budget, the draft spending plans they have received give them a lot less money to spend than before, when they controlled only about half of their spending.

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