1,400 jobs eliminated in Chicago Public Schools WGN-TV

1,400 jobs eliminated in Chicago Public Schools

Savings from employee layoffs will help school system make $634 million pension payment.

The Chicago school system has eliminated about 1,400 positions so that it could meet a deadline for making a $634 million payment to its teachers' pension fund.

DNAinfo Chicago reports that the job cuts will reduce the district's budget by about $200 million. The remaining pension payment comes from borrowed money, adding to the district's projected $1.1 billion deficit.

The district did not specify which jobs would be cut and how instruction or other operations would be affected.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had hoped the Illinois Legislature would provide some relief to the school system's financial crisis, but lawmakers had not done so, and the district faced a Tuesday deadline to make the payment to the pension fund. Failure to make the payment could have led to lawsuits from retired teachers

The Chicago Teachers Union says it is outraged at the district's plans to eliminate jobs.

“We are blindsided by reports that the district intends to lay off 1,400 public school educators, given that we just met with them yesterday and there was no mention of this action," says Karen Lewis, president of the union. "These layoffs prove that the board never intended to make the pension payment in good faith and that they are using this to justify more attacks on our classrooms. Putting 1,400 people out of work is no way to balance a budget and resource our schools."

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