Chicago lays off 550 teachers, 600 other union staff

Chicago lays off 550 teachers, 600 other union staff

Credit: M. Spencer Green, Associated Press, courtesy of USA Today

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, seen here at an October 2012 news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the layoffs were the result of declining enrollment. (via USA TODAY)

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by Michael Winter, USA Today

khou.com

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Nearly 1,200 Chicago teachers and other unionized staff received layoff notices Thursday because of declining enrollment, the city's schools chief announced.

Pink slips went out to 550 teachers and 600 other members of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Public schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said the staff reductions "are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools," which were not immediately identified.

School officials told the Chicago Tribune that the teachers can reapply for the projected 1,780 vacancies to be filled in other schools and that in past reductions 60% have been rehired.

The layoffs are in addition to the 76 teachers and 68 other staffers who lost their jobs at three underperforming schools in the spring, the Chicago Sun-Times notes.

STORY: Chicago to close 61 schools to trim $1B deficit

Thursday's layoffs come two days after an Illinois legislative task force issued a critical report about how the city handled the closings of dozens of schools last year and the wholesale replacement of staff at six other low-performing buildings.

Officials said the closings and cuts were made to help close a $1 billion budget deficit, but critics said the moves disproportionally hit minority communities.

The Illinois General Assembly's Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force claims the closings were ill-planned, harmed students and families and cost taxpayers $263 million.

At the same time, the report questioned why 49 supposedly underused schools were closed but 33 new charter schools were approved.

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