CPS to layoff 1,000 by end of summer

500 to get pink slip now, 500 later on
June 10, 2009 2:23:58 PM PDT
Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools employees are bracing for layoffs.CEO Ron Huberman said 500 administrators will receive pink slips later this month. He has announced the layoffs, but employees have not been notified yet.

The budget cuts, which are the largest in recent years, is an effort to streamline the CPS administration during the tough economic times.

Five hundred other employees could also lose their jobs this summer, bringing the total closer to 1,000 layoffs. Rumors of layoffs have circulated in the months since Huberman took over in January. Now that layoffs are imminent, many employees are wondering when their last day will be.

"The mood is, I would say, somber," said Aaron Bowen, former CPS employee.

Bowen recently resigned from CPS after almost 4-years. He agrees with the efforts to make the district more efficient, but says the layoffs could be too broad.

"To lose historical knowledge, to have the brain drain going on, to lose so much people at a time when we're already experiencing a financial crunch is really detrimental to (the) mission of Chicago Public Schools," said Bowen.

Huberman confirmed the layoffs Tuesday and said the cuts are in response to a $500-million budget shortfall and an effort to streamline the administration.

"You're going to see a wide variety of departments consolidated, we're taking a look at giving certain managers additional responsibilities; we're going to ask administrators to take on additional responsibilities," said Huberman.

Sixteen administrators will be hired to oversee the changes. Some of them are educators, according to Huberman, and others have business backgrounds or were his colleagues at the CTA, which he left to take over CPS.

Linda Lenz, a journalist who has covered CPS for years, said it'll take some time to see whether this latest change will produce improved district wide results that Huberman is pushing for.

"Ron Huberman and the mayor need for central office to work well. they might want to have their patronage people there, but they can't have a debacle on their hands," said Linda Lenz, Catalyst Chicago Magazine.

The Chicago Teachers Union said the organization has long called for any belt-tightening in the district to come at headquarters, not in the classroom. Huberman said no teachers will be let go.


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