By Ziyuan Jasmine Cen
The rain did not stop Chicago Public Schools parents from gathering Tuesday to voice their opposition to proposed state budget cuts impacting CPS.
Chicago public schools need about $500 million to make up a $1.1 billion operating deficit, according to Forrest Claypool, CEO of CPS. Failure to get the state aid will result in cutting classes and laying off more teachers.
“I mean, they are talking about laying off 5,000 teachers,” said David Levinson, one of the parents, “I can’t comprehend that. It just feels like It is a game.”
“CPS is facing a budgetary crisis due to declining state funding and exploding pension costs,” Claypool states on the CPS website.
After waves of student protests in Chicago in October and November, the parents gathered to share their concerns about their kids’ future. They were chanting “save our schools.”
Amid the group of parents, seventh grader Aeva Streff came to make sure her voice was heard. She and three other classmates started a project called “Stand Up 2 Springfield“.
“Our principle told us about this, and then we are just so passionate,” said Streff, “We didn’t want our teachers to get fired. Later on, we found out that they are not giving us enough funds. We are trying to stop [that] and get our funds.”
Streff is a student at Wildwood IB World Magnet School. Her appearance was not part of a class project. The parents chanted “stand up to Springfield, stand up to Springfield” after Streff’s speech.
“It is a great feeling for me as a parent to witness her passion and to be a part of the community of Chicago that we live in,” said Kimberly Mehta, a CPS parent at the rally, “That’s our future.”