As the Chicago Public School District’s budget continues to crash, officials have announced the next round of layoffs, with over 450 employees getting the axe in schools across the city.
The teachers and employees got their notices on Monday, it was reported.
“As in the past, CPS will offer affected teachers the opportunity to reapply for positions within CPS,” district officials said in a statement. “As CPS works to keep classroom cuts to a minimum, fewer teachers will be impacted this year than any point in the past five years, with 479, or less than 2 percent, of teachers impacted.”
204 high school teachers and 275 elementary school teachers were affected.
Noting that, in the past, 60 percent of laid off teachers were rehired at some point, Chicago Public Schools also noted that its budget was severely restricted.
“This budget reflects the reality of where we are today: facing a squeeze from both ends, in which CPS is receiving less state funding to pay our bills even as our pension obligations swell to nearly $700 million this year,” Chicago Public Schools’ head Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our leaders in Springfield to prioritize education funding reform and finally end the inequity that requires Chicago alone to take scarce dollars from the classroom to pay for teacher pensions.”
Claypool and the city also demanded that the Chicago Teachers Union pay their full pension contribution to help the spiraling budget problem, but teachers union president Karen Lewis said that would equate to a seven percent pay cut and called the demands “strike-worthy.”
Lewis further claimed that the suggestion was a way to “force us into another strike.”
Lewis also used the idea as a reason to cut off negotiations on a new contract, meaning teachers will likely start the school year without a contract.
“They could have been the heroes in this. But instead, Sheriff Claypool has decided just blow things up and show us just how tough he can be,” she said on Friday.
“Whether or not a flip-flop or breach of trust will lead to a work stoppage this school year will be decided by our members at the appropriate time,” she added.
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