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The Chicago Teachers’ Union will lead a massive protest through the Loop on Wednesday against Chicago Public Schools’ plans to shutdown 54 schools, and consolidate 11 others, next year.

The demonstration will kick-off at Daley Plaza at 4pm, and then make stops at City Hall and CPS headquarters. The Board of Education has metal barricades around the building in anticipation of the protest.

Thousands of teachers, parents and students are expected to attend the rally. The Chicago Teachers’ Union is joining with UNITE HERE Local 1, SEIU Local 1, and the Grassroots Education Movement.

“They’re destabilizing, they’re dangerous, and they’re detrimental to families, and we need all voices, all hands on deck, to make a proper decision about helping the situation, and not making it worse,” said Pastor Gregory Livingston of Mission of Faith Baptist Church. He’s among several ministers who are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to put a moratorium on the closings.

But, CPS says underutilized schools are draining resources and contributing to the system’s whopping deficit. The CTU believes CPS is just looking for ways to open more charter schools.

Meantime, CPS announced Tuesday they are looking to hire “Safe Passages” patrols to help students get to school safely.

Thousands of students will be transferred to schools further away once the closures take place and CPS says the Safe Passages community watchers will help keep an eye on the students as they travel to their schools.

CPS plans to spend $7.7 million on the patrols.

WGN’s traffic reporters are advising evening commuters to be knowledgeable of this rally and march. Here’s the map they tweeted:

WGN News Writer C. Hayes helped publish this story.

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