Lawmakers delay Chicago school closings issue
SPRINGFIELD – A chief sponsor of a bill that would have stopped Chicago Public Schools from closing any schools until at least 2015 set the proposal aside Tuesday, saying he needs to drum up more support and watch how officials in the nation's third largest school district proceed with the controversial plans.
Chicago Public Schools officials have identified 129 potential schools to close, saying many facilities have too few students to justify keeping them open. District officials say closures would cut costs for the district that faces a $1 billion budget shortfall and better funnel resources to students.
But the issue has been highly contentious for months with charged community meetings all over the city. Opponents say closures would disproportionately affect minority students, threaten the safety of students who may have to cross gang boundaries if their schools are closed and cause major inconveniences for families.
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