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Chicago school officials says building underuse, budgets_ not race _ guided school closures

An official for the nation's third-largest school district defended closing about 50 Chicago public schools, saying the decision was driven by underuse and not race.

Thursday's testimony came as Chicago Public Schools sought to convince a federal judge not to issue a preliminary injunction halting the closures.

Adam Anderson testified the district concluded it could use millions of dollars saved by closing underused schools for improving education of displaced students at new schools.

Parents of affected students argue the closings inordinately harm black students.

But Anderson described how the district used a complex "utilization equation" formula to decide which schools to close. Overall, he says it found there were more than 500,000 seats for 400,000 students.

He says the underuse was especially pronounced on Chicago's south and west sides.

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