Chicago Public Schools students are protesting downtown Friday to speak out against proposed school budget cuts and demand a "better learning environment and appropriate funding for all schools."
Students are demonstrating at the Thompson Center to show "how much they value their education, even though our elected and unelected officials do not," protest organizers said in an announcement.
The action comes as CPS prepares for deep school budget cuts should the state fail to come through with funding for the district, which is facing a $1 billion budget deficit.
Illinois lawmakers did not approve a state budget or spending plan for K-12 education before the regular legislative session ended May 31, leaving schools across the state concerned over whether they will be able to open on time in the fall.
Today's student-led protest also follows controversial comments Gov. Bruce Rauner made this week, in which he called some CPS schools "crumbling prisons."
"We live in a state where our governor calls our schools 'crumbling prisons' but refuses to actively improve public education," said Walter Payton College Prep High School student Sarah Jester. "We live in a city where our corrupt mayor appoints only his good friends to our board of education, although boards are usually elected in many other districts."
Lane Tech College Prep High School student Sabah Hussain added, "The power of the people is stronger than the people in power."
This morning, CPS parents from seven schools on the city's Near North Side held a march and rally to press for a school budget solution and increased revenue.