State funding issues may lead to shorter school year, CPS says

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CHICAGO -- Chicago Public School parents and students are weighing in on the possibility the school year may end early due to a heated, budget fight. They're concerned about the potential impact on exams, class trips, and graduations.

CPS students stand to lose three weeks of classroom instruction, with schools ending on June 1 rather than June 20, due to the lack of state funding.

Ending on June 1st and canceling summer school for elementary and middle school students would save CPS about $96 million.

CPS filed a lawsuit suing Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois State Board of Education in February, accusing them of creating two learning systems in the state and treating Chicago students, many of them minority students, as second class citizens. They claim that the state has violated the civil rights of their children by giving Chicago schools less funding than other districts.

CPS filed an injunction asking a judge to expedite its civil rights lawsuit against the state.

The Chicago Teachers Union calls the legal move a cynical, political ploy.

The state school board says the June 1st date would be a worst case scenario but CPS C.E.O. Forest Claypool says it could definitely come to that.

"You can't get the best education if you're going to cut their education short," says Harry Thomas, whose daughter is an honors student at Whitney Young High School.

Beth Purvis, Illinois Education Secretary put out a statement in which she said that Claypool should "engage in a constructive process to pass a balanced budget with changes that would help schools across the state, including those in Chicago."

But Claypool has been very clear, he feels there are two education systems in Illinois, one that is neglecting the students of CPS.

Without a solution in Springfield or the courts, that June 1st date is extremely possible, especially with the financial crisis the school board faces, the deficit deepening to $130 million.