An estimated 1,000 teachers are expected to lose their job this week the Chicago Public School system struggles with a multi-million dollar budget deficit.
Though the layoffs are part of the school system's annual cutback in teaching staff on account of school closings and declining enrollments, some 150 non-classroom teachers who provide extra math and reading help to students will also be among those receiving the latest round of pink slips, according to the Chicago Tribune.
While district officials insist that the cuts will not have an impact on class sizes, Jackson Potter, a Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) spokesperson, told the Tribune that he remained skeptical and expected that students will be seeing larger class sizes come fall.
Tenured teachers being cut due to enrollment drop-offs or school closings will receive full pay for one school year, while probationary teachers will be eligible for substitute positions. Tenured teachers being fired due to the budget deficit, however, are not guaranteed extra pay, though they may be rehired if additional funds become available. Last year, 3,000 CPS teachers were laid off for various reasons.
The layoffs come after several weeks of protests and controversy surrounding changes in CPS leadership. First, the Board of Education voted to rescind teacher raises due to budgetary concerns while approving relatively large executive salary increases. Parents in Pilsen also expressed doubts about CPS plans for a future library at Whittier Elementary School.
Despite the raise rejection and likelihood of longer school days, new CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in telling public school teachers make visit the homes of their students twice a year. The United Neighborhood Organization of charter schools already has its teachers make house calls, but the CTU described that suggestion as "half-baked" and pledged to continue to fight for teacher raises in negotiations going forward.