Cash-Strapped CPS To Impose 4 Unpaid Furlough Days For All Employees

CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing a $215 million hole in the budget for the current school year, the Chicago Public Schools have announced all employees will be forced to take four unpaid furlough days this spring.

CPS officials said all employees will be taking unpaid furlough days on Feb. 3, April 7, June 21, and June 22. All four of those dates already were days off for students, but had been planned “school improvement days” for staff. They now will be unpaid days off for all CPS employees.

The district said the move will save about $35 million. The district called the move “a first step in addressing the governor’s misguided cuts.”

In November, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation that would have given CPS $215 million to help shore up its teachers’ pension fund. The district already had baked that money into its budget for the current school year, so now it must find a way to plug that hole.

The governor and Democratic lawmakers had agreed to the CPS pension relief funding as part of a temporary state budget, but the pension deal was contingent on lawmakers working out a separate plan to overhaul the state’s employee pension systems. That deal never materialized, and Senate President John Cullerton has denied there was ever such an agreement.

Rauner has said he is still willing to reinstate the money he nixed for CPS as part of a broader state budget deal, but only if it’s part of a “comprehensive package” for statewide pension reform.

CPS also turned to unpaid furlough days last year to save money on its budget, imposing three unpaid days off for all employees amid contract talks with the Chicago Teachers Union.

The Chicago Teachers Union says it’ll be looking for legal recourse.

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