CHICAGO (CBS) – There is exactly 3 weeks before the start of the school year for Chicago public school kids. Parents have a lot of questions about the new year.
A back-to-school fair was held Tuesday at Whitter Elementary School in Pilsen. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker received excitement from students going back to school and concerns from parents.
School starts Sept. 6 and students said they are ready to go back.
School supplies are among the goodies given away at the school fair in Pilsen. Families were treated to music, games, entertainment and a visit from the newest member of the Jesse White Tumblers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
While kids are excited about the first day of school, parents express concern about teacher layoffs, a $300 million dollar budget deficit and teachers returning to class without a contract.
“They are going to cut teachers too,” said parent, Cruz Zamarripa. “Then in the rooms they put 50 people to one teacher. That is too much.”
Other parents wonder if students will actually start on Sept. 6 and sure hope that they do.
“We are on our tip toes wondering what is going to happen,” said parent, Maria Jara.
“We are at the negotiating table,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO, Forrest Claypool. “I don’t see why we cannot come to an agreement with CTU. Our teachers do important work and we want to give them as generous a contract as we can possibly provide, given the dollars that are available.”
A high level of lead in drinking water is another concern for parents. CPS tested 327 elementary schools so far. Of those 112 have one or more fixtures, water fountains or sinks, with unsafe lead levels.
“Those faucets have since been turned off,” Claypool said. “There is no longer any risk associated with them, because you cannot use them. We will have a complete remediation plan to either replace or remove faucets during the course of the school year.”
There are several back to school rallies scheduled between now and the first day of school. It is all about reminding parents and students, that school starts Sept. 6.