CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 500 teachers and 300 staff members at schools set to close next school year or are targeted as “turnaround” schools were laid off on Friday.
The Chicago Public Schools issued the pink slips as part of its plan to close nearly 50 elementary schools to help plug a $1 billion budget deficit.
Some of the layoffs happened at schools targeted as “turnarounds.” In those cases, most of the teachers lose their jobs as the school remains open and essentially starts from scratch.
The other layoffs took place at the schools that will be shut down, either because they were poor performers or were underutilized.
CPS officials confirm that 545 teachers from schools being closed or turned around received their pink slips. Another 300 CPS staff members, including teaching assistants and bus aides, were also laid off.
Also Friday, CPS also announced it would eliminate some 100 staff positions at the central administration office, at 125 S. Clark St. That move is expected to save about $50 million in operations and administrative costs.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis calls the layoffs premature and believes many of the laid-off teachers will be hired back. She criticized the timing of the announcement.
“The mayor’s out of town yet again. You go skiing when you announce closure of schools and then you go to Israel when you’re going to announce 500-and-somebody layoffs – really?” she said during a news conference.
Here is a breakdown of the jobs lost:
- Non-tenured teachers, PATS (probationary appointed and temporarily assigned): 277
- Tenured teachers rated Unsatisfactory/Satisfactory: 143
- Paraprofessionals (teacher assistants): 110
- Bus aides and other positions (part-time, seasonal): 133
- Non-tenured teachers, PATS (probationary appointed and temporarily assigned): 34
- Tenured teachers rated Unsatisfactory/Satisfactory: 91
- Paraprofessionals (teacher assistants): 20
- Clerks, custodians and security: 27
- Bus aides and other positions (part-time, seasonal): 20
CPS says about 60 percent of the teachers issued pink slips at the closing schools will get rehired in the district.
Tenured teachers with excellent or superior ratings are eligible to follow students to the welcoming schools in the fall. They will be notified of availability of those positions in July.
“Today is the third time CPS has spoken to its employees directly about the impact to them and the benefits and supports we are offering,” CPS said in a statement. “CPS met with employees at each of the schools when the actions were proposed, following the board vote, and now Friday with a personalized communication that specified their eligibility for certain benefits.”