More than a thousand teachers and other staff laid off in Chicago
Chicago Public Schools officials told 550 teachers and 600 more school staff Thursday that they’re out of a job.
The number of dreaded phone calls being made by principals is based on how many kids CPS officials project will show up on the first day next fall.
“The staffing changes are driven most directly by declining student enrollment,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a conference call with reporters.
The number is significantly smaller than last year’s nearly 3,000 layoffs, which were due mostly to the Board of Education’s decision to close 50 schools.
More than 800 teachers were laid off last June, another 2,100 were let go in July and nearly 100 were released after the 20th day of school enrollment count was taken in the fall.
CPS’s Chief Talent Officer Alicia Winckler said, typically, about 60 percent of the staff let go over the summer find new jobs at other schools in the system.
Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, said it’s still too many layoffs in a system already starved for resources.
“It sort of like, hey, we cut the most we’ve ever cut in the last two years and we cut a little less than that this year, so therefore, it’s not so bad, doesn’t seem reasonable, or accurate, or considerate to the families that are going to suffer a further reduction of the essentials that their children need and deserve,” Potter said.
CPS officials say they have made adjustments at schools where enrollment dropped and core programs are in jeopardy.
“We’ve made every single effort, whereever there was a decline, to make sure that the core academic program, as well as the enrichment programs could continue for next year,” Byrd-Bennett said. “But it is difficult for schools that have sustained substantial enrollment decreases to avoid staff impact. I mean, you can’t get around that.”
Last year, schools that lost enrollment were held harmless--meaning they could keep money budgeted to them even if the number of students who enrolled came in under what was projected. That will not continue this year.
District officials have said the complete fiscal year 2015 budget is set to be released in early July.
Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her @WBEZeducation.