More Than 2,000 Chicago Teachers and Staff Face Layoffs

CPS officials said Thursday they will notify 1,036 teachers and 1,077 non-teachers of the layoffs.

More than 2,100 Chicago Public Schools employees could be laid off Friday morning, bringing the total number of pink slips to 3,000 in two months.

CPS officials said Thursday they will notify 1,036 teachers and 1,077 non-teachers of the layoffs.

"As a former principal and teacher, I share the frustration felt by many of our principals, teachers, and parents about the difficult decisions our schools are being forced to make because of the historic $1 billion deficit facing our district," schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said. "Driven by the lack of reform in Springfield, the pension crisis has arrived at our schools."

Chicago Teachers President Karen Lewis called the cuts "unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students" and said they will have a direct impact on the district's quality of education.

Of those cut, 262 are support staff and food service employees from closing schools, 1,723 are teachers and support staff cut by budgetary decisions from school principals, and 123 are teachers impacted by changes in enrollment at CPS schools.

“The biggest issue, for me, is what will this look like for our kids?" said Sean Diller, who received notice that he had been let go Friday morning.

Chicago Public Schools attributes the cuts to the district's $1 billion deficit and said the lack of pension reform in Springfield has "brought this crisis to our schools' doorsteps."

"We're not able to cut our way out of this crisis," CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said. "Our revenues are simply not keeping in line with our spending increases."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement that the pension crisis is "no longer around the corner."

"CPS has been forced to make extremely difficult choices to put our school district in the best position to be successful next year and beyond," he said in the statement. "This is yet another painful reminder to Springfield that we need immediate pension relief, so we can give our kids the high quality education and opportunity they deserve to succeed in school and life.”

The cuts are in addition to more than 850 CPS teachers and staffers fired at closing and turnaround schools in June.

Up to 420 teachers from closing schools received pink slips, along with 110 teacher assistants and 133 bus aides and part-time seasonal employees.

An additional 192 teachers and staff were fired at five of the schools slated for turnaround, which includes 125 teachers. Those positions will all be replaced in an effort to change the culture, according to CPS officials.

Ruth Augspurger, who had been teaching in Chicago for nearly 10 years, also received notice Friday.

"There are people who are working in our schools who have given their lives, they’ve given their careers," she said in an emotional plea.

CPS said any teachers who are impacted will be able to reapply in the CPS and an average of 60 percent of displaced teachers have historically found positions elsewhere in the district.

Tenured teachers let go due to budgetary decisions made by school principals are eligible to be placed in a day-to-day substitute pool for next year, CPS said.

Tenured teachers who could not follow their students to a new school are also eligible to be in the reassigned teacher pool at full pay and benefits for five months next year, followed by placement in a pool as a higher paid substitute.

CPS said employees will be notified by their principals beginning Friday.

“This is wrong," said Roosevelt teacher Timothy Meegan. "And I will fight you, we will all fight you, to the last breath."

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