CPS holds hearings on new budget, new CEO explains next moves - FOX 32 News Chicago

CPS holds hearings on new budget, new CEO explains next moves

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Public Schools held two public hearings Tuesday night to present its amended budget.

School officials explained that the budget for 2013 has been changed to include the $103 million needed to fund teacher raises for the first year of its new contract.

District officials said that money was found by reducing central office spending without any cuts to the classroom.

Tuesday night's hearings were at Martin Luther King College Prep on the South Side and at Walter Payton High School on the Near North Side.

New schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was essential in the school board and teachers' union coming together to reach a deal to end the week-long Chicago teachers strike in September.

She stopped by Good Day Chicago Wednesday to talk about her professional relationship with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

"My respect for Karen is incredibly high," Bennett said. "We had very positive and productive discussions during negotiations. She was the first person I called, and I intend for this to be a productive and collaborative relationship.'

We also asked Bennett about how long she plans to stay in Chicago. The new head of CPS said she's here for the long haul.

Her predecessor, Jean-Claude Brizard, was in the position for just 17 months. The CPS chief before him served in the position less than two years.

During the strike, there were rumors that Mayor Emanuel was considering plans to close 80 to 120 public schools on the city's South and West Sides.

Bennett said the district in the middle of a process, and as of now, there is no specific plan of action as of yet.

"We need to put everything on the table," Byrd-Bennett said. "We need to look at right sizing our district. We have far too many seats for the number of students we have. We have to be mindful that this process shouldn't be an event, and we need to engage community."

Bennett added the district needs to have meetings with those families who would be greatly affected by closing certain schools.

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