'Reclaim Our Schools' demonstrators call for more funding

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Teachers, students, parents and staff took part in a national "Reclaim Our Schools" day of action Thursday at schools in the Chicago area and across the country.

Demonstrations were held in 35 school districts in Illinois and at more than 200 school districts across the country. It all comes as Chicago teachers prepare for a possible strike on Oct. 11.

Activists focused on what is lacking in U.S. school districts. They said less funding and less teachers mean larger class sizes, special education cuts and an overworked school staff.

"We're really fighting for equitable funding, so that our students get the programing they deserve. So that we don't have to have cuts to teacher positions, so that they can have art and they can have sports," said Ramona Richards, a teacher at Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy.

"I really just want everything to work back out. I don't want us to sit here and struggle and have to strike and miss school, because this is our education," said Shania Singleton, a senior at King College Prep.

Some teachers and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council said there is access to TIF money - or tax-increment financing money - to help alleviate the problem in Chicago.

Although the movement is unrelated to a possible teachers strike in Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union will participate in Thursday's walk-in.

The union held its monthly House of Delegates meeting Wednesday night. Members of the union's "big bargaining team" said a walkout next Tuesday is the last resort.

If there is a strike, Chicago Public Schools will be open during normal hours and students will get free breakfast and lunch.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.