CHICAGO
07/19/2013 11:27 am ET Updated Jul 19, 2013

CPS To Lay Off More Than 2,100 Employees, With 1,000 Teachers Getting Axed In 'Bloodbath'

The Chicago Public School district is slashing more than 2,100 employees, nearly 1,000 of them teachers, in the largest layoff of district employees in recent years.

The Chicago Teachers Union announced news of the layoff Thursday evening noting staff cuts include teachers, lunchroom staff, paraprofessionals, janatorial and school support staff.

Blaming a ballooning pension obligation that's stressing the already cash-strapped district, CPS confirmed it was laying off 2,113 employees Friday, according to Sun-Times reports. With 1,036 teachers getting pink-slipped, the total accounts for roughly 4 percent of the district's entire teaching staff.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett called the cuts frustrating according to NBC Chicago, and put the need for the budget cuts largely at the feet of the Illinois General Assembly which has failed to find a solution to the state's pension obligations.

The union, meanwhile, called the cuts a "bloodbath," with CTU President Karen Lewis blasting Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked district CEO for leading the charge:

"It's unconscionable for a mayor who has found creative ways to create new bike lanes, a bike share program, lure white collar jobs and massive investment to the loop and gold coast -- but blames Springfield and teachers for CPS's budget crisis-- to layoff over 3,000 educators in the nation's third largest school district...The CEO and the mayor are making excuses not improvements."

Teachers on the receiving end of the bad news will be notified by their principals Friday. The teacher layoffs affect both tenured and non-tenured teachers, WBEZ reports. CPS says laid-off teachers can re-apply for positions in the district and that roughly 60 percent are able to find jobs.

The layoff comes just one month after the district slashed 850 employees in June. As WGN notes, the district had earlier said the June layoff would be the only one of the school year.

The district said it wouldn't commit to reversing the layoffs even if lawmakers do strike a deal for pension reform, the Associated Press reports.

In 2010, CPS laid off 1,200 teachers due to a fiscal crisis, with the Tribune reporting some 65 percent were later re-hired.

CPS is the second-largest employer in the both in Chicago and state-wide, ranking only behind the U.S. government, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

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