Well over 500 Chicago public school teachers were unceremoniously sacked Friday afternoon. A few hundred other school employees also received their walking papers.
The dismissals come about three weeks after the Chicago Board of Education voted 6-0 to shutter nearly 50 elementary schools. All affected students will transfer once their schools close. (RELATED: It’s official: Chicago Public Schools will close 49 elementary schools for good)
The Chicago Teachers Union admitted that the firings were not surprising, reports CBS Chicago. Teachers union president Karen Lewis nevertheless managed to complain about both the timing of the layoffs and the way school officials announced them.
“They decided to make this announcement before the current school year is out, before anyone knows how many students will return to CPS next year and how many of our students from closing campuses will actually enroll in the so-called welcoming schools,” groused Lewis at a press conference.
The CTU president also lambasted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for skipping town ahead of the announcement.
“The mayor’s out of town yet again. You go skiing when you announce closure of schools and then you go to Israel when you’re going to announce 500-and-somebody layoffs — really?” the combative union leader said.
At the same time, Lewis conceded that the new contract between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools dictated the firings.
The Chicago Sun-Times calculates that there were over 850 pink slips in total. At the 48 schools slated to close, 420 teachers out of 1,005 total were dismissed. An additional 125 teachers were sacked at five schools slated for “turnaround,” which means the students will stay but all the adults will be replaced.
There are — or were, until Friday — 23,290 teachers employed by the Chicago Public Schools.
An additional 130 paraprofessionals, 153 bus aides and part-time employees got the ax, as did 27 custodians, security guards and miscellaneous clerks.
All the teachers and employees who got fired on Friday can reapply for a different job within the CPS system, notes the Sun-Times. In the past, the district has rehired about 60 percent of the teachers who go through the reapplication process after dismissal.
Lewis promised to fight any school officials who attempt to avoid hiring teachers with seniority when they decide which fired teachers to hire back, according to CBS Chicago.