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CPS Will Force Employees To Take Furlough Days; Teachers Union Says It Will Strike

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 3, 2016 11:06PM

SEPTEMBER 11: Chicago public school teachers and their supporters picket in front of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters on September 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 26,000 teachers and support staff walked off their jobs yesterday after the Chicago Teachers Union failed to reach an agreement with the city on compensation, benefits and job security. With about 350,000 students, the Chicago school district is the third largest in the United States. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Just after laying off 62 employees on Monday, Chicago Public Schools told all its employees Thursday they would need to take three unpaid furlough days sometime between now and June 30.

Schools officials say the $120 million in cuts already made to its central office and school budgets have “made progress” in plugging its current $480 million budget hole and next year’s $1.1 billion deficit. But CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a letter to all employees that “more savings” were needed. CPS estimates it will save $30 million with the furlough days.

Claypool tried to lay the blame on the lack of funding from Springfield and Gov. Bruce Rauner for the continued financial hurt. “Governor Rauner is more interested in forcing bankruptcy and taking over our schools than addressing the unequal funding issues that hurt districts like ours across the state,” wrote Claypool.

Claypool also said that CPS continues to “negotiate in good faith with the Chicago Teacher’s Union to reach an agreement” in its contract fight.

But the teachers union is not having it. Calling the move an "insult to injury to every teacher, paraprofessional and clinician, CTU reps said that the move all but guarantees a strike on April 1.

“The mayor is already seeking a 7 percent pay cut and today’s directive adds another reduction in salary and benefits. They should have never extended the school year in the first place if they couldn’t afford to do so," said CTU President Karen Lewis, adding that the move “only strengthens our resolve to shut down the school district" on the 1st.

The letter from CPS: