850 teachers, staffers get pink slips at `turnaround` schools - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

850 teachers, staffers get pink slips at closing, `turnaround` schools

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

About 850 teachers and staffers at schools doomed to either close this month or to reboot their staffs were handed pink slips Friday afternoon, according to Chicago Public Schools.

At the 48 closing schools, 420 teachers lost their jobs, plus 110 paraprofessionals and 133 bus aides and part-timers, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. At the five schools headed for "turnaround," where the children remain in the building but all the adults are replaced, 192 staffers were laid off: 125 teachers, 20 paraprofessionals, 20 bus aides and part-timers and 27 clerks, custodians and security staffers.

The teachers laid off at the closing schools did not have either tenure or high-enough performance ratings for a chance to follow their students to available jobs in the receiving schools, according to the contract between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union. Everyone at the turnarounds will be replaced, regardless of job performance. Anyone who lost a job may reapply for open positions elsewhere within the system, according to the district; an average of 60 percent of teachers who reapply end up rehired.

"I really don't think the fight is over," one teacher tells FOX 32 News. "It may be the end to certain schools but I just think that the entire process still has to go through so many different levels of changes and turnarounds so you still just stay positive because you don't know what lies ahead. "

This laid-off teacher wants to remain anonymous since school is still in session but tells FOX 32's Tisha Lewis she will not continue her career with CPS.

"The fundamentals are not the same as they used to be, it's more political than ever before," she says. "I really don't think they have the children or the teachers' I guess best interest at hand because they're doing things that they want to do without any input.  It's like coming in and making change and you don't really know what the environment is."

More budget-related layoffs are still possible as principals wrangle with new draft budgets based on the number of students enrolled at the school rather than a set number of assigned positions. The district, which has not yet publicized the drafts, says those staffing decisions and cuts are up to principals, not driven by central office. The CTU has been reporting deep cuts in the budgets of many schools and fears many teachers and staffers could end up losing their jobs as a result of the cuts.

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