By SARA BURNETT
CHICAGO (AP) - Parents, teachers and community members are vowing to push back against a plan by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration to close 54 schools.
Chicago Public Schools officials announced the list of school closings Thursday.
Emanuel and schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett say the closures are necessary because too many buildings are half-empty. They say money being spent to keep underused schools open could be better used to educate students elsewhere as the district deals with a $1 billion budget deficit.
But opponents say the closures will further erode troubled neighborhoods and endanger students who may have to cross gang boundaries to attend school. The schools slated for closure are all elementary schools and are overwhelmingly black and in low-income neighborhoods.
The teachers union has scheduled a protest march for next week.