By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) –Hundreds of students at two city high schools took to the streets today, protesting the layoffs of several teachers.

They’re hoping to send a message to CPS to stop the cuts, but CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports the message is falling on “broke” ears.

The cry to save teachers came from hundreds of students at simultaneous protests at Roosevelt and Foreman high schools.

“This walkout is bringing attention,” said Foreman student Tim Towers. “The teachers that we build relationships, that we look up to, they’re leaving.”

The students were protesting layoffs of teachers and support staff at Roosevelt, Foreman, and Schurz high schools.

“There will be day-to-day subs in those classes where teachers have been laid off until they re-program the entire school,” said Roosevelt teacher Tim Meegan.

CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the layoffs included:

• Five teachers and four support staff at Foreman, out of 91 teachers and 40 support staff;
• Four teachers and two support staff at Roosevelt, out of 91 teachers and 30 support staff;
• One teacher and two support staff at Schurz, out of 150 teachers and 58 support staff.

Meegan says the layoffs mean larger classes — as many as 37 students, much higher than the teachers’ contract of 28.

“No one-on-one time with the students, less interaction,” said Roosevelt student Anahi Diaz. “It’s just not a good outcome.”

CPS officials said the move is necessary. The district is $480 million in the hole. In a statement, school leaders said they sympathize with protesting students.

The cuts were across the system, with 95 teachers let go overall at schools with declining enrollment, along with 57 support staff. Roosevelt, which lost 183 students since last year, saw a budget reduction of $543,000. Foremen is down 215 students, and lost $766,000 in funds.

The numbers were little comfort to students, but CPS was warning of more layoffs if the district doesn’t get more money from the state.

Dorothy Tucker