In a surprise move, Chicago Public Schools laid off 2,113 teachers and support staff, claiming that expensive pension payments "forced" them to do it.
July 19, 2013

As if closing 53 schools wasn't bad enough, Chicago Public School administrators are now using teachers' pensions as leverage for laying off 2100 employees. This is truly shameful. There's no excuse for this.

More than 2,100 Chicago Public School employees are slated to be laid off this week, the Chicago Teachers Union announced Thursday.

Beginning Friday, CPS said they will notify 1,036 teachers and 1,077 non-teachers of the layoffs.

“The loss of these workers will have a direct impact on the quality of instruction offered in our schools under the imposed ‘longer school day,’” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “These cuts are unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students.”

Of those cut, 262 are support staff and food service employees from closing schools, 1,723 are teachers and support staff cut by budgetary decisions from school principals, and 123 are teachers impacted by changes in enrollment at CPS schools.

Chicago Public Schools attributes the cuts to the district's $1 billion deficit and said the lack of pension reform in Springfield has "brought this crisis to our schools' doorsteps." Read on...

See how that works? Teachers and other public servants don't want to sacrifice pensions they have been promised and which have been accrued for their benefit, pensions which they have contributed to, with their jobs!

Here's the deal. Back in May, there was an effort by the state legislature to cut pension payments by $350 million, which would have shorted the pension plans for teachers and other public servants and placed pension benefits in jeopardy. That effort was defeated.

Cutting teachers' pensions is a dearly-held value of the right wing. When Chicago teachers went on strike last year, right-wing organizations leaped on their pensions as the culprit for all budget woes ever.

According to a task force appointed to study tax issues in Illinois, one of the primary problems in that state is the way taxes are levied and apportioned. This task force has recommended steps to broaden the tax base and raise tax revenues as well as distributing those revenues in a fairer way than they are right now.

Instead they're punishing teachers and support staff in Chicago Public Schools by laying off 2,113 of them in addition to the 850 let go when they closed all those schools.

Shameful. I can't imagine how those kids are going to get a decent education there with no teachers, no safety, and no support. Nice going, Chicago Public Schools.

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