CHICAGO – Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton told an Illinois House committee Tuesday that, without relief, Chicago schools may be forced to lay off thousands of teachers and balloon average class sizes, moves that would undermine education progress and send families scurrying elsewhere.

“If you don’t give them these two years of relief there’s going to be, I’m told by the Board of Education, massive layoffs, like 3,000 school teachers being laid off,” Cullerton said at a hearing of the House Revenue Committee. “To send the message that class sizes are going to go up to 35 and we’re going to reduce the number of days you have to go to school, this will cause people to flee.”

The Senate President was at the hearing pressing support for SB 318, legislation he sponsored that would provide financial relief for Chicago schools, force an much-needed overhaul of how Illinois funds public schools and temporarily freeze property taxes throughout the state.

Cullerton’s legislation cleared the Senate earlier this month and is now pending in the Illinois House.

You can hear the full audio of the Senate President’s testimony here: