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CPS Set To Lay Off More Than 2,000 Employees

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Updated 07/19/13 – 11:11 a.m.

(CBS) – Thousands of Chicago Public Schools employees are expected to be laid off as early as Friday – a move condemned by the Chicago Teachers Union.

CPS officials confirmed that 2,113 jobs will be cut because of a $1 billion deficit and a $400 million increase in the district’s annual teacher pension payment.

The layoffs include 1,036 teachers, of which 545 are tenured, and 1,077 non-teachers.

The union says it’s just the latest wave of troubling cuts that began earlier this year.

This is not the first round of layoffs at CPS this year; it’s the third since May.

Last month, CPS sent pink slips to 850 employees – including 500 teachers – at schools that have since been shut down, as part of the district’s plan to close 49 elementary schools considered to be underutilized.

The union said another 550 probationary appointed teachers and Title 1 teachers were laid off in May.

“These cuts are unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students,” CTU said in a statement.

CPS says it has no choice.

District officials said they were hoping state lawmakers would have passed a pension reform plan that could have created a significant cost savings for CPS, but pension reform efforts have stalled in Springfield.

“Driven by the lack of reform in Springfield, the pension crisis has arrived at our schools, and while we have reduced Central Office, administrative, and operations spending by nearly $600 million since 2011 to mitigate the impact on our classrooms, we cannot cut our way out of this crisis,” CPS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a written statement.

Friday morning, parents at Orozco Fine Arts & Sciences Elementary School in Pilsen were discouraged by the news.

“I believe it’s absolutely ridiculous, and I believe that they should be able to pull funds from somewhere,” Talicia Parker said. “I don’t understand why we don’t have money in this country for the teachers. We have parking meters that are everywhere. We have taxes that are constantly being raised through the roof. Someone has to be held accountable.”

Parker said the district should get rid of board members who don’t have hands-on experience dealing with students.

“Start to cut from the top before you cut from the classrooms,” she said.

Josephine Miranda said she agreed that the district should “focus on the kids.”

“They need to make more programs. Stop cutting,” she said.

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