CHICAGO, March 25 (UPI) -- Nearly 2,000 students participated in a brief walkout at three schools in a Chicago suburb to protest a plan to lay off 363 teachers, officials said.
The walkout came after the Carpentersville-based Community Unit School District 300 school board voted 4-3 to eliminate the teaching jobs, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Students briefly walked out of class Thursday at the schools to protest the board's action.
"If we hadn't done it, we would have felt like we had given up," said Anita Perez, 14, a freshman at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. "We really care about our education and our teachers."
District officials said they would rehire most, if not all, the teachers if their union agreed to salary and benefit cuts when their contract expires in June.
"We hope to completely avert any job losses," district spokeswoman Allison Strupeck said. "That would be achieved by working with our teachers union on benefits and salaries."
The board cut $10 million from last year's budget, with administrators, custodians, staff and secretaries agreeing to pay cuts.
Teacher's union president Kolleen Hanetho said union representatives might meet with administrators next week.
"We have been asking to come to the table," said Hanetho, who represents nearly 1,300 members. "The loss of this number of teachers will destroy the education of the students of District 300."