CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools announced plans Thursday to shutter 54 of its 681 schools, a move defended by district leaders as needed to better direct resources and "right-size" a financially strapped system strained by a looming $1 billion deficit.

The action proposed by the district's chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett is expected to save $560 million in capital costs and $43 million annually in operations over a 10-year period. The district called the schools slated for closure underutilized and under-resourced and sought to stress that students would be moved to better performing schools. Another 11 schools would share space with other schools and six schools are slated for an academic overhaul known as "turnaround."

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