Chicago Public Schools to cut 156 teachers, 382 support personnel

Chicago Public Schools announced Wednesday that the district will lay off 156 teachers and 382 support personnel at the end of the school year. The cash-strapped district said the number of job cuts represents less than 1 percent of the teacher workforce. It is the first time in the past decade that the annual layoff figure has dipped below 200.

In her Town Halls over the past few weeks, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson repeatedly stressed that she is forging a path toward stability for the district, which has been rocked by a revolving door of CEOs, mounting debt, and investigations into its handling of special education and student sexual assault complaints.

After a decade-high of 2,239 in 2013, the number of annual teacher layoffs has fallen. In 2016, 508 teachers were cut; in 2017, it was 356. Last year, 64 percent of teachers whose jobs were cut were rehired for positions elsewhere in the district.

The district is spending $3.1 billion at the school level for the upcoming school year, a $60 million increase over its school-level spend in 2017-2018.

A CPS spokeswoman, Emily Bolton, said in an e-mail that the staffing changes resulted from declining enrollment at individual schools and “changing student populations”—for example, laying off one teacher to hire a bilingual instructor.

She said that the district would provide a school-by-school breakdown of the layoffs and detail which positions have been cut as early as Thursday morning, once principals at schools confirm that they’ve notified affected staff.

In April, CPS handed principals budgets for 2018-2019 instead of waiting closer to the start of the school year and leaving them to scramble. Last year, the district announced job cuts in August.

Bolton said teachers impacted by the cuts will be invited to apply for jobs elsewhere in the district. CPS is hosting a job fair June 9.