CHICAGO – Hundreds of teachers, parents and opponents have marched through downtown Chicago, vowing to fight a plan to close 54 Chicago Public Schools.
Wednesday's march came as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's insisted he's done negotiating and the closures are a done deal.
Emanuel and schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett say closures in the nation's third-largest district are necessary because CPS faces a $1 billion budget shortfall and has too many schools that are half-empty and failing academically.
The closures are expected to save $560 million over 10 years in capital costs and $43 million per year in operating costs. About 30,000 students would be affected.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the closings "injustices" and said lawsuits are planned.
The closures would take effect at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.