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479 CPS Teacher Layoffs On The Horizon In New Schools Budget

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Aug 10, 2015 6:15PM

Photo credit: Justin Carlson

A new Chicago Public Schools operating budget, unveiled Monday, includes 479 teacher layoffs and an unlikely $480 million state funding hole.

According to the Sun-Times, CPS historically has re-hired about 60 percent of the teachers laid-off in its annual budget because of the 1,450-some open teaching positions that must be filled before the start of the new school year. But the budget is facing several major wildcards this year with a $676 million teacher pensions payment bearing down on CPS and the uncertain feature of the state's own schools budget.

The budget is also likely to change should CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union agree on a new teachers contract in the meantime. Contract negotiations are typically tense, and last week, CTU President Karen Lewis called the teachers' underfunded pensions "strike-worthy." She hinted at problems on the horizon for negotiations on the union's contract, which expired June 30th.

Meanwhile, the school district is facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit, but it's unclear how much state lawmakers will be able to help this school year given the state's on funding woes.

Forrest Claypool, the recently-appointed public schools CEO, told reporters in a conference call Monday that he is hoping the dour budget will spur state lawmakers to send more funding Chicago's way in the coming weeks, the Sun-Times reports. He also wants the CTU to make some contract concessions.

“Our goal is to protect pensions and to protect the classroom,” Claypool said. “To do that, it means everybody’s got to pitch in.”