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CHICAGO – Yesterday, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released the following statement regarding Friday’s layoffs of more than 2,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) employees, most of whom are veteran teachers, teacher assistants, clerks, technology coordinators, instructional aides, lunchroom workers and security guards. Since May, the district will have removed over 3,500 educators from their jobs:

“Once again,  CPS  has lied to parents, employees and the public about keeping the new school-based budget cuts away from the classroom,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “On Friday, CPS will reportedly lay off 1,074 teachers, 451 paraprofessionals and 550 other employees, on top of the nearly 850 professionals who lost their positions in June and the 550 probationary appointed teachers (PATs) and 22 Title I teachers who were laid off in May.  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.’  These cuts are unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students.

“It is equally shameful that as CPS slashes school budgets, they have not offered one sound recommendation to resolve their “budget crisis” other than attacking teachers, closing schools, disrupting communities and vilifying parents. CPS can generate new revenue by closing corporate loopholes, engaging the banks about toxic swaps, re-examining the city’s TIF program, and supporting a financial transaction tax which could put billions of dollars back into our schools. Once, again the most vulnerable children are going to receive the least. This will impact every single student in our district.

“This also says much about the district’s much-touted, but poorly executed, “Longer School Day,” program which they have recently branded as a “fuller day.” How can a “full day” function without the appropriate staffing and funding levels and when schools that lack books, toilet paper and other necessities? These cuts will surely increase class sizes. What we have now is the ‘empty day.’

“While the mayor is busy making multi-million dollar stadium deals and the Illinois General Assembly is playing volleyball with workers’ lives, our students are the ones suffering.

“The CTU has obtained a CPS PowerPoint presentation that instructs principals on the school-based budgeting process (http://www.ctunet.com/pdf/CPS_Student_based_budgeting_PPT.pdf).  It should be noted, their process identifies our schools as “winners and losers,” as principals are instructed to trim a minimum of 4 percent from their budgets. Why is this school district describing any of our schools in these terms? What game are they playing with the education of our students and the careers of their educators? Who does CPS identify as the “winner,” in this process and who does it define as the “loser,” and why?

“As the CTU continues to lobby the Board of Education to restore these jobs, remarkably CPS refuses to agree to a hiring freeze. It makes no sense to hire new people as the district lays off veteran teachers and paraprofessionals many of whom have excellent and superior ratings.

“We were told employees can expect calls from their principals early Friday. In the meantime, our members can check our website for updates as we continue to advocate for the schools our students deserve,” Lewis said.