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Budget Cuts Could Lead To Increase In Class Sizes At Chicago Charter Schools

(CBS) -- Today is the deadline for principals to tell CPS what staffers or programs they're cutting. CPS passed out reduced budgets last week. Cuts ranged from a few a thousand to half a million.

If no agreement between board and teachers is reached by the end of the month pink slips go out Feb 29.

Charters are also feeling the pain. CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker takes a look at the impact of budget cuts on charters in this original report.

Providence Charter prides itself on a rigorous curriculum and manageable class sizes that prepare students for challenging high schools. The average class is 25, but that could change because CPS is cutting the school's budget by $61,000.

"It equates to a classroom teacher," said Principal Angela Johnson-Williams.

There are only 23 teachers for a population of nearly 500 students so to eliminate one means, "there's a possibility that we could have 45 students," she said. "To have a classroom of 45 students with just one pair of hands, one pair of eyes is going to be very, very challenging."

The possibility of losing teachers, increasing class sizes is a challenge charters across the district are facing. All 131 had their budgets cut, ranging from $15,000 to $140,000.

Jelani McEwen is with Illinois Network of charters, an advocacy organization.

"Just what I've heard this has come as a shock," said McEwen. "They're all just kind of in this place where they are reeling really to lose so much money."

Because charters are run by foundations and corporations, they won't see the cuts from CPS until mid-April. Still like district schools, larger class sizes take the biggest toll on students.

Like district run schools charters around the city are planning fundraisers hoping to attract donations from parents and corporate donors. They're also hoping that the board and teachers reach a contract. Both sides say negotiations continue.

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