Lightfoot saddles district with $175 million pension bill instead of funding critical positions — librarians, social workers, technology coordinators — in every school.
CHICAGO, June 10, 2022 — The Chicago Teachers Union released this statement following word that layoff notices began circulating Friday among educators and support staff, while the district runs a billion dollar surplus and has agreed to pick up city pension costs:
Today’s layoffs are just the latest in a long series of low points in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s control of Chicago Public Schools. Some of the pink slips that educators received came under the guise of budget cuts, while others are blatant attempts at union busting. But every pink slip is unnecessary in a district that admits our schools are underfunded, yet won’t spend a fraction of its billion dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds to keep trusted and valuable educators in their school communities.
At Coonley Elementary, children will no longer learn with beloved and nationally renowned librarian Nora Wiltse. The overwhelmingly low-income students and families of Jensen Elementary have suffered a heavy burden of COVID, and their loss will be compounded by the loss of over $370,000 in school supports. Hibbard Elementary will have fewer special education teachers, even though the mayor’s CPS team promised there would be no special education layoffs. South Side Latinx schools like Orozco and Zapata are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts and the loss of dozens of educators, support staff and programming opportunities for kids.
Mayor Lightfoot cannot continue balancing city budget shortfalls on the backs of students and educators, or using school budgets to prop up her political shortcomings in other areas, like public safety. Next year should be a year of recovery. Our students and school communities do not need layoffs, more cuts or more neglect. They need stability, recovery and a commitment to improving conditions in classrooms instead of forcing everyone to continue to do more with even less.