Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett says she's insulted by allegations of racism from opponents of her plan to close 54 schools.
During a Wednesday school board meeting, Byrd-Bennett said the decision to shutter the schools was made after listening to more than 20,000 people at hearings around the city.
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Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis calls the plan "racist" and "classist."
CPS and Chicago's mayor say the closings will save the district $560 million over 10 years in capital costs and an additional $43 million per year in operating costs. About 30,000 students, most of them black, would be affected.
But Byrd-Bennett, who is black, said she can't understand or accept that the proposals are racist. Her remarks prompted shouts of "They are!" from some attending the meeting.