Chicago Public Schools Eliminates 227 Nonteaching Positions

by San Antonio Attorney

At the peak of its fiscal crisis, Chicago Public Schools opt for a more familiar tactic thus reducing nonteaching ranks and closing off open jobs in order to save tens of millions of dollars.

The public school stated last Friday that the job layoffs will affect 433 jobs but will save approximately $32 million in 2016. This will help keep the school afloat by covering the nearly half-billion budget gap. This gap was partially filled through the aid of lawmakers and Chicago Teachers Union. CPS has to strive more to get through this financial crisis.

Forest Claypool, District Chief revealed in an interview that they simply had no choice even when these job cuts were done due to limited resources and an impending budget crisis. Some jobs were occupied for years and they were suddenly included in the huge budget cut. However, these budgets cuts were also not enough to ensure the financial security since the resources will still remain less even into the foreseeable future.

The district officials pleaded for Springfield to grant a bailout and this can be referred to the central office cuts since they have done their best to alleviate cash-strapped problems without affecting the school.

The 227 employees received their layoff notices last Friday. Approximately one-third of the affected jobs were in the special education services department. 57 of the laid-off employees were given the opportunity to reapply for 35 available job positions.

The district eliminated almost 180 vacant jobs, in addition to 61 jobs that were eliminated since August last year. These job cuts targeted Chicago public school’s central office and administrative staff, which are a part of a plan to address the financial shortcomings through borrowing hundreds of millions to get by another fiscal year.

The installment of a new administration spearheaded by Claypool precipitated the layoffs along with the district’s financial troubles.

Rana Donaldson, a former billing coordinator in the Chicago Public School was aware of her employer’s financial troubles since rumors started spreading around last August. Donaldson added that she was not that surprised at all.

40 employees were laid off in the special education services. Almost two-thirds of the 57 employees were eligible for job reapplication for the district’s special education team.

Chicago Public School released a public statement regarding its reorientation of its special education services through a bottom-up approach. This will replace a formulaic, centralized operation in place with a focus on schools to retain resources in classrooms. No further details were provided on that effort.

Aside from the special services department, job cuts have also affected other departments such as information technology, law, early childhood development and accounting. Non-classroom cuts benefit the financial status of contributing $80 million and a part of those reductions came from the central office personnel.

Straddled with budget troubles the past few years, CPS has expressed its interest to tighten central office operations in order to solve financial shortcomings. Even when the academics department was spared from the problems, teachers have perceived the impending problems as well. Last 2013, the district initially planned to lay off more than 2,000 employees, evenly split among teachers and non-academic staff.

CPs has requested the state to cover the huge bulk of its financial crisis but the state has not reciprocated to this plea that it will come to the district’s aid. Governor Bruce Rauner and Republican legislative leaders planned a state takeover of the school district’s finance and also pave a path for the system to officially file for bankruptcy. This plan was refuted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Claypool and Democratic state Senate President John Cullerton.

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