Some of city’s hardest-hit South, West Side neighborhoods taking staff cuts, despite $1.8 billion in federal supports to prevent layoffs, stabilize school communities, support students.

  • 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 23: press conference with laid off educators, CTU officers. Via Zoom — reporters, please register at the link in your email.

CHICAGO — Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS team is laying off 443 special education teachers, school clerks, bilingual teacher assistants, and other educators this month — even as CPS expects $2 billion in COVID funds to prevent layoffs and cuts and instead support student needs.

Laid off workers will join CTU officers for a press conference at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23 via Zoom to talk about how those staff cuts harm students — or are retaliatory in nature. Reporters, please register at the link in your email.

CPS students need more support today, not less, as hundreds of thousands of working class Chicago families continue to struggle to recover from the consequences of the pandemic. Yet the mayor’s handpicked board of education seems determined to continue to practice business as usual, when business as usual before the pandemic starved students and school communities of what they need and deserve.

Mass layoffs began under former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel as part of a sweeping austerity agenda that slashed school budgets. CPS has continued to enact them under the terms of SBB — Emanuel’s student-based budgeting scheme, which funds schools based solely on enrollment and not based on student need. While CPS had promised to hold schools ‘harmless’ this year, these layoffs represent clear staff cuts at individual schools.

Yet these laid off workers were deemed so ‘essential’ a year ago that the mayor and CPS tried to force them back into buildings before enforceable safety guardrails were in place. Today, these educators are disposable — when the mayor’s CPS team promised to hold schools HARMLESS during the pandemic.

Based on school location, the highest number of layoffs by ZIP code is in North and South Lawndale, which was also disproportionately devastated by COVID infection and death, and where families successfully defeated a CPS attempt last year to close three neighborhood schools. The mayor’s plan to gut staffing at schools she had previously threatened to close raises red flags about the motivation at the root of these layoffs.

Reporters, please register for the press conference at this link:

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