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Chicago District Plans Nearly 1,000 Layoffs, Including 500 Teachers

UPDATED

The Chicago school district on Friday announced that it is laying off close to 1,000 people, including more than 500 teachers.

But the district was also quick to add that it was confident that the majority of the laid-off teachers would be hired at schools with open positions. The layoffs, according to the district, were part of the annual school budgeting process during which principals make decisions about staffing.

Assurances of rehiring did not soothe the Chicago Teachers' Union, whose contract with the district expired more than a year ago.

In a statement, the union said the district "continues to inflict damage on our school district by implementing layoffs, cutting special education services and other programs that help students excel."

"The gutting of experienced educators and other school employees only weakens schools and puts children at a disadvantage," the union said. "This is no way to run a 21st century school district."

Of the nearly 1,000 employees who are impacted by the cuts, 508 are teachers and 521 support staff. Two hundred and sixty-two tenured teachers were among those set to lose their jobs. 

The cuts are spread over 273 schools, according to the district.

The district said it had nearly 1,000 open teaching positions that it hoped to fill before the beginning of the school year. Teachers who receive layoff notices will be invited to fill those positions, the district said.

"CPS principals continue to do exemplary work protecting their classrooms so that they can build on the remarkable academic progress their students are making," district spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement. "Today's staffing changes are part of the normal process of school planning, and there are more vacant positions in the District than staff who will be impacted today, with roughly 1,000 teaching vacancies to be filled."

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