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Chicago Public Schools May Close Early Without State Funding Boost

(CBS) -- Chicago's public schools may close nearly weeks early, on June 1 in stead of June 20, if the cash-strapped system does not receive a funding infusion from state government, the city's top education official warned Monday.

The announcement ties in with a civil rights-based lawsuit Chicago Public Schools has filed against the state of Illinois, challenging the way education funding is distributed across the state.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool says the June 1 closure is a "worst-case scenario," if a judge doesn't expedite the lawsuit or if Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers do not act.

"We will work to find any options to avoid a shortened school year," Claypool told reporters at a news conference at CPS headquarters.

Claypool has criticized Rauner recently for vetoing a pension-funding bill that blew a more than $200 million hole in the current Chicago school budget. Gov. Rauner says he wanted a comprehensive funding-reform measure from lawmakers.

Illinois Education Secretary Beth Purvis said it's time for Claypool to engage in a constructive process that would help schools across the state.

Ending the school year early -- or starting summer break early --  presumably would set parents scrambling to make arrangements for their children. Safety also would be an issue because schools are seen as safe havens in some Chicago neighborhoods.

More information about CPS's legal case can be found here. 


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