850 CPS Teachers, Staff Fired

Teacher and staff from closing and turnaround schools let go

More than 850 Chicago Public Schools teachers and staffers at closing and turnaround schools were let go Friday afternoon.

Up to 420 teachers from closing schools received pink slips, along with 110 teacher assistants and 133 bus aides and part-time seasonal employees.

An additional 192 teachers and staff were fired at five of the schools slated for turnaround, which includes 125 teachers. Those positions will all be replaced in an effort to change the culture, according to CPS officials.

Tenured teachers with excellent or superior performance ratings were spared the firings and permitted to follow students to the welcoming schools, per the contract between CPS and the teacher's union last fall. They will be notified next month about the availability of positions.

The fired teachers with satifactory or unsatisfactory ratings were permitted to reapply for jobs, and according to CPS officials, an average of 60 percent of teachers get rehired.

CTU president Karen Lewis said she asked CPS officials to wait until Monday to make the announcement, and called it a "way to spread fear and panic and chaos on a Friday night." "Today's announcement is not only premature, it's highly disingenuous. They've decided to make this announcement before the school year's out, before anyone knows how many students will return to CPS next year, and how many students from closing campuses will actually enroll in these so-called welcoming schools," Lewis said.

CPS Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett realeased a statement that said in part that "consolidating underutilized schools will give thousands of children this fall an opportunity to access a safe, higher-quality, 21st-century education ..."

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