District’s distorted priorities perpetuate Emanuel inequities instead of educational justice for students, educators.

CHICAGO—CPS announced another round of layoffs today, which by its own numbers are higher this year than last year. Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement in response to news of those layoffs.

“CPS will receive more money from the state this year than in past years, yet they will cut hundreds of teachers and almost five hundred school-based support personnel—the school clerks, paraprofessionals, teachers assistants who were hired to alleviate classroom overcrowding, and other critical workers who are the backbone of our school communities. Most of these workers are Black and Brown women who are the economic engines of their families and social anchors in their neighborhoods—communities that already struggle from generations of disinvestment and neglect.”

“These cuts, contrary to CPS spin, are HIGHER this year than last year, even as CPS funding has continued to improve. It simply makes no sense that as CPS’ budget is growing, it’s providing less funding for staffing and classrooms at schools who need these supports.

“This is a slap in the face of the people of Chicago, who voted for equity and educational justice for our schools this spring, not more cuts and austerity. And it is a slap in the face of our school communities, who rely on these workers as critical sources of support in their schools. Chicago officials forked over billions of dollars for wealthy developments like Lincoln Yards and the ’78’. It’s time to invest those dollars in our schools instead.

“Another round of unnecessary layoffs destabilize already deeply under-resourced school communities, at a time when we had hoped we’d left behind these indefensible policies with the exit of Rahm Emanuel from the mayor’s seat. And today’s staffing cuts stand in stark contrast to the commitment to equity in the very state funding formula that is sending tens of millions of additional dollars to CPS coffers this year.

“Today’s layoffs are built on inequitable and immoral policies—student-based budgeting, privatization, a lack of democracy and accountability from a mayorally controlled and unelected school board, and a profound disrespect for our students and the educators who work so hard to support them. We intend to fight for every member impacted by these layoffs, and for every school community suffering from their loss—at the bargaining table, in Springfield and the City Council, and if necessary on the picket lines this fall.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.