CPS teachers prepare for possible layoffs Monday

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Monday, February 29, 2016
Chicago teachers prepare for possible layoffs
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Some Chicago teachers are worried they could lose their jobs as early as Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Chicago teachers are worried they could lose their jobs as early as Monday.

Chicago Public Schools won't say how many teachers will get pink slips Monday, but they have warned that the layoffs are coming.

The Chicago Teacher's Union originally thought thousands of teachers would be laid off. But now, officials don't think the numbers will be that high.

"I think a lot of principals mitigated the cuts, but really the district never should have been making mid-year cuts," said Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President.

Teachers have been protesting for weeks. Just last Thursday, dozens of teachers marched from City Hall to a new downtown development project on Lake Street.

The teacher's union said tax increment finance money should be used to prevent teacher layoffs. A city budget spokesperson said since 2011, more than half of the TIF surplus has gone to CPS.

Parents at Agassiz Elementary in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood are hoping the teachers and the district will settle on a contract soon, to avoid a strike.

"I want what's best for the kids and if everybody can keep that in mind, we'll probably be successful," said Rex Eamon, a CPS parent.

"The district has to do what it has to do. I know that they have serious budget issues. So if it has to be a handful of layoffs, luckily it's a handful instead of a whole lot of them," said Purva Patel, another CPS parent.

In addition to possible layoffs Monday, the CTU's 27,000 members are also going to lose a 7 percent contribution Wednesday that CPS has been making on their behalf.

District officials said CPS has cut and borrowed its way through a massive budget gap and it was counting on pension help from Springfield. But no relief has come.

"The bottom line is that the district needs to have support from the state government. Rauner has to come through. Right now, he's sitting on a broken state budget," Sharkey said.

Not all schools will be affected by the layoffs. Many principals made other painful cuts to try to prevent that.

The district and the union are still bargaining for a new contract. Negotiations have been very rough. Union officials said a strike is not out of the question.