Chicago Schools Face More Layoffs
The School Board of East Chicago is laying off 112 employees in an effort to curtail costs. More job cuts may be expected in the next two fiscal years as the district struggles to balance its budget.
The layoffs will primarily include teachers from four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The layoffs will also include administrators, clerks, coaches, maintenance workers, and other staff. At least six schools in total will be affected.
The school system has been facing a financial crunch for years. The district’s budget shortfall is being cited as the primary reason for the downsizing. In addition, student enrolments have been declining at the district’s schools. This is due to a lead crisis in the West Calumet community last year, which forced the mayor to move families out of the area. As a result, the local school in the area was shut down.
Superintendent Paige McNulty has said that the lead crisis directly caused the district to have a budget loss of $4.0 million since August of last year. McNulty says the latest layoffs were necessary to avoid a budget deficit. (Source: Ibid.)
The Chicago Public Schools system is America’s third-largest school district, including a total of 652 schools across the state. “CPS Stats and Facts,” Chicago Public Schools, last accessed June 5, 2017.)
The schools have been facing budget shortfalls for years, and the crisis has led to thousands of layoffs in the last five years. The layoffs have caused a rift between the district administration and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Earlier this year, the district held a referendum asking taxpayers whether they would be willing to pay additional taxes to bridge the budget gap. Only a meager 14% of the registered voters turned up, and the majority voted against additional taxes. McNulty gave a pre-warning that if the majority rejected the tax increase, the district schools would be facing layoffs.
In the absence of additional tax revenue, the state will be forced to cut $3.2 million in costs by the next fiscal year, and more layoffs could become imminent. (Source: Chicago Tribune, op cit.)
“East Chicago votes to cut 112 school employees,” Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2017.
“East Chicago school layoff letters sent out prior to board approval,” NWI Times, May 30, 2017.