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CPS to lay off central office bureaucrats Friday

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool |Sun-Times file photo

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool will lay off staffers from the district’s central office and networks on Friday, but not teachers.

“Tomorrow — as we continue to work with the teachers union and Springfield on solutions to our budget crisis — we are prioritizing the immediate needs of our schools and moving forward with painful layoffs to the Central Office and administrative staff,” Claypool said in a statement Thursday.

“We do not take these actions lightly, but as we ask others to do their part, we are doing everything in our power to put our fiscal house in order,” he said. “Every department at CPS will have to do more with less, as we streamline administrative functions in an effort to prevent cuts from reaching our classroom doors.”

CPS is cutting staff and borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to minimize cuts to classrooms as it struggles with a $480 million budget gap. The district has been asking state legislators to help, but meanwhile, the governor has announced his support for bankruptcy for Illinois’ largest school district.

Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said she didn’t expect any union members to lose their jobs.

All central office workers are expected to be called into a 9 a.m. meeting or teleconference whether or not they are on the chopping block, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times. Those who will get pink slips will be notified one by one after that meeting, the source said.

Claypool had threatened to lay off thousands of teachers in early February, as the second semester begins, but has held off on those while CPS and the CTU continue to hammer out a new teachers contract that he said will stave off the need to let school staffers go. But the longer the district waits, the more teacher layoffs will cost because teachers are entitled to 21 days pay after they’re told they’re being let go.

CPS said they would reveal details of how many people would lose their jobs on Friday, a day traditionally chosen for layoffs and other bad news because of weekend distractions, but it’s expected to be in the hundreds.