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CTU rally shuts down traffic in the Loop

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CHICAGO -- The CTU rally in the Loop is causing major delays to evening commuters.

Thousands of protesters are joining the teachers in the Loop with expected delays.

CTU is upset about proposed layoffs, up to 1,000 teachers, as well as $725 million Chicago public schools borrowed from Bank of America to stay afloat--at a high interest rate of  8.5 percent.

The teachers union is rallying to protest Bank of America and what they call a series of bad investments between the bank and CPS.

CPS says it needs the bond money for existing debt payments to cover construction and repair projects.

This all comes after the union rejected a contract proposal that would have required members to pay more toward their pension and health care.

The district then announced it would slash $75 million from school budgets.

According to a Chicago Tribune poll, three times as many Chicagoans side with the teachers union versus Mayor Rahm Emanuel on how to improve public schools.

The survey also found that Emanuel's approval rating on education has fallen to a record low--as it has with his overall job performance and handling of crime in the city.

Governor Bruce Rauner has ordered the State Board of Education to prepare for possible takeover of CPS, suggesting CPS file for bankruptcy, saying mayor Emanuel ignored his advice to fix CPS's shaky finances.

Rauner says CPS’s move to borrow hundreds of millions is a mistake and ultimately taxpayers are going to get hit down the road.

The CPS has released the following statement during the rally:

“Our goal remains the same: reaching an agreement that protects our children while treating teachers fairly. We know our work is not finished, and we are committed to building a mutually respectful relationship with the CTU and working at the bargaining table around the clock so Chicago children can remain in the classroom. In the meantime, because of our dire financial circumstances, we must proceed forward with painful cuts in the absence of an agreement. We are hopeful we can rescind these cuts by swiftly reaching an agreement.”

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