Chicago Board of Education VP Discusses Drastic Layoffs - NBC Chicago

Chicago Board of Education VP Discusses Drastic Layoffs



    Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education Jesse Ruiz joins us on set to discuss the drastic layoffs at CPS and what it means for classrooms this fall. (Published Saturday, July 20, 2013)

    The Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education says the firing of more than 2,100 Chicago Public Schools employees is "shameful."

    “It is shameful," said Jesse Ruiz. "Shameful that the general assembly hasn’t addressed pension reform so that we wouldn’t have to be at this point of having to take these drastic measures of layoffs.”

    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."

    Chicago Teachers 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.

    Of those cut, 262 are support staff and food service employees from closing schools, 1,723 are teachers and support staff cut by budgetary decisions from school principals, and 123 are teachers impacted by changes in enrollment at CPS schools.Ruth Augspurger, who received notice Friday, had been teaching in Chicago for nearly 10 years.

    "There are people who are working in our schools who have given their lives, they’ve given their careers," she said in an emotional plea.

    The cuts are in addition to more than 850 CPS teachers and staffers fired at closing and turnaround schools in June.

    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.

    Ruiz said the district plans to continue with its student-based budgeting and fund allocations to keep Chicago education afloat.

    He said in addition to the cutting of several teachers and staff, they also plan to cut $52 million from the central administration. Ruiz noted the administration is looking to move to a new, cheaper facility, but did not note any further plans to cut the budget.

    "When you have to start cutting into bone we have a serious problem," he said. "We cannot continue to exist and continue to educate our kids until we address the problem."