BRIDGEPORT - Students, teachers and parents in Bridgeport protested possible school closures in the district Wednesday night at a public budget hearing.

The meeting became so crowded it had to be stopped at one point due to safety concerns.

The city is looking at a $5.5 million shortfall. As a result, the Bridgeport School District faces cutbacks, including school closures and laying off nearly 170 staff members. One option being considered by school leaders is the closure of four elementary schools. The schools on the chopping block are Black Rock, Edison, Hall and Hallen schools.

Parents and students protested outside Black Rock Elementary School Wednesday morning as well. Parents are outraged by the news and are begging school leaders to keep the schools open. They also had some harsh words for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch on the issue.

?He?s going to destroy our children ? we are all going [to City Hall tonight], we will rally for this school ? it will not end today,? parent Shivon Darcy says.

Finch released a statement accusing the board of education of playing political games. He says instead of closing schools, he?s urging school leaders to cut administrative pay, which the mayor claims is strapping their budget.The city council is expected to vote on the budget in May.

Dozensprotest possible Bridgeport school closures