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CPS Lays Off 200 Lunchroom Employees

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CPS Lays Off 200 Lunchroom Employees

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Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that 200 cafeteria workers will receive layoff notices.

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Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that 200 cafeteria workers will receive layoff notices, bringing the total CPS employee cuts to more than 3,000.

CPS said the reduction will save the school system approximately $4 million.

“Given the historic $1 billion deficit facing our District due to the lack of pension reform in Springfield, we must make difficult decisions in order to keep cuts as far away from our classrooms as possible,” CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement. “We have reduced Central Office, administrative and operations spending by nearly $700 million since 2011 and today's actions are among the reductions we are making outside the classroom in order to protect programs that support student learning.”

Employees with 10 years of service and 50 years of age or older were offered a voluntary resignation opportunity. According to a CPS fact sheet, only 75 of 1,067 eligible employees took the offer.

CPS plans to host two job fairs for lunchroom workers to “learn about jobs offered by Chicago-area vendors.”

The layoffs follow last month’s firing of more than 2,100 CPS employees and June’s cuts of more than 850 CPS teachers and staffers.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called the cuts "unnecessary and shameful for a system that prides itself on providing a high-quality education for our students" and said they will have a direct impact on the district's quality of education.

Chicago Public Schools attributes the cuts to the district's $1 billion deficit and said the lack of pension reform in Springfield has "brought this crisis to our schools' doorsteps."

"We're not able to cut our way out of this crisis," CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said. "Our revenues are simply not keeping in line with our spending increases."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement that the pension crisis is "no longer around the corner."

"CPS has been forced to make extremely difficult choices to put our school district in the best position to be successful next year and beyond," he said in the statement. "This is yet another painful reminder to Springfield that we need immediate pension relief, so we can give our kids the high quality education and opportunity they deserve to succeed in school and life.”

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