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Chicago Public Schools laying off more than 1,000 teachers, staff

Former Chicago Public Schools head Paul Vallas argues in a letter to the editor for reconsideration of a program called Cradle to Classroom to help young first-time mothers.

Chicago Public Schools on Friday sent layoff notices to 508 teachers, including 262 tenured teachers, and another 521 support staff, although all teachers and staff will be able to reapply for positions within CPS.

CPS says the layoffs are part of the annual process in which principals set their school budgets. Some schools are closing positions due to declining enrollment, while other schools are increasing the number of positions.

The district says most of the teachers receiving layoff notices on Friday will be hired into open positions in other schools. All affected teachers are from district schools, not charter schools.

Schools with the largest amount of total layoffs, including support staff, are Foreman College and Career Academy with 22; Kelly High School with 17; Steinmetz College Prep with 15; Gallistel Language Academy with 15; Bradwell School of Excellence with 14; Harlan Community Academy with 13; Schurz High School with 13; Wells Community Academy with 12; and Addams Elementary School with 11.

Schools with the most teacher layoffs include Steinmetz with 14; Kelly with 11; Wells with 10; Harlan with 9; Foreman with 9; and Gallistel with 8.

At issue for some on the Southeast Side are the layoffs at both Gallistel and Addams. A new elementary school will open in September to alleviate overcrowding at both Gallistel and Addams. But there had been a movement to allow teachers from both schools to follow their students to the new school. It’s unclear whether the teachers laid off on Friday will apply for jobs at the new school.

CPS on Friday said the layoffs affect 3 percent of all teachers. Layoffs of support personnel total 353 at high schools and 140 at elementary schools.

CPS says 280 schools will see no teacher or staff impacts this school year.

The district expects to have about 1,000 teaching vacancies which it will try to fill by the beginning of the school year. Teachers receiving notices on Friday are being invited to apply for those open positions, and CPS will hold three career fairs to help them do that on Aug. 10, 11 and 17.

“CPS principals continue to do exemplary work protecting their classrooms so that they can build on the remarkable academic progress their students are making,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement. “Today’s staffing changes are part of the normal process of school planning, and there are more vacant positions in the district than staff who will be impacted today, with roughly 1,000 teaching vacancies to be filled.”

CPS says that in past years, about 60 percent of impacted teachers have been rehired in full-time CPS positions. And about 26 percent now work as substitute teachers.

The Chicago Teachers Union on Friday criticized the cuts, saying “this is no way to run a 21st century school district.

“This latest round of layoffs come when Mayor Emanuel is seeking more tax hikes from Chicago’s working families while he continues to ignore demands that he go after wealthy developers and others who enrich themselves at the public’s expense,” CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said in a statement. “If the City and Board exhibited leadership by implementing progressive revenue strategies, such as declaring a TIF surplus and reinstating a corporate head tax, these layoffs could have been avoided.“

Gadlin said the district continues to inflict damage with its layoffs, and the cutting of special education services among other programs.

“The gutting of experienced educators and other school employees only weakens schools and puts children at a disadvantage,” Gadlin said.

2016 Staff Impact List School-By-School