Protesters claim cuts could leave students without toilet paper

CPS protesters claim budget cuts could leave students without toilet paper

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Photo taken by FOX 32's Craig Wall Photo taken by FOX 32's Craig Wall
Photo taken by FOX 32's Craig Wall Photo taken by FOX 32's Craig Wall
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Public Schools wrap up classes this week, and that means some of the schools will only be open for a few more days before they are closed as part of the CPS 5-year reorganization plan.

It's a plan that continues to rile parents and teachers, who rolled out a new tactic in their protest Tuesday night.

The protest highlighted budget cuts that parents and teachers claim will pits the need for things like toilet paper against staffing.

"Imagine coming up to the front of your classroom to ask your teacher for toilet paper... No!" says Nettlehorst Elementary teacher Michelle Gunderson.

A parent with children at Lafayette Elementary says that school, for example, is facing a half-million dollar funding reduction that puts the cost of cleaning supplies into the principal's budget -- the same one that pays for teachers.

"So we got socked," says CPS parent Jennie Biggs. "Losing money and now we also, my principal also has to pick up supplies, so there's a real chance he's going to have to pick between teachers and toilet paper."

While protesters marched outside, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett talked with the head of the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board at a $20-a-head event.

She tackled a wide range of issues surrounding her 5 year schools reorganization plan and reemphasized her promise of no more school closings during this time. She also cautioned against those who were betting against her being around to see the results.

"I plan to be here, I plan to see my plan through," CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. "I've never not lived through a commitment and a contract and I plan to be here."

Earlier, Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis, speaking at the City Club, raised eyebrows once again regarding the school closings.

"When will we address the fact that rich, white people, think they know what's in the best interest of children of African Americans and Latinos-no matter what the parent's income or education level," Karen Lewis said.

Karen Lewis did not mention anyone by name in her comments, but clearly she was taking a shot at the educational advisors that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has assembled.

Of course, the iron of what she said is that the woman in charge of the schools, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, is African American. She did not address what Lewis said, but did describe their relationship as cordial, saying they meet, talk and text regularly.

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