Layoff notices sent to 1,100 Chicago teachers and staff

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools officials have sent layoff notices to 550 teachers and 600 clerical support staff, but said Thursday the teachers will be able to apply for other open jobs with the district for next school year.

The district said the teacher layoffs were the result of enrollment declines at some schools, though CPS has not identified which ones, CBS Chicago said.

The district said it expects to have approximately 1,780 vacant teaching slots for next school year, and teachers who received layoff notices can apply for those positions. Approximately 1,400 of the open slots are for full-time teaching positions.

"On average, more than 60 percent of displaced teachers have historically found positions elsewhere in the District. CPS expects this year to meet or exceed our historical experience," CPS officials said in a statement.

The teachers and clerical staff all are represented by the Chicago Teachers Union.

Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, said all of the people being laid off are members of the union.

"It's very clear to us that this is an attack on public education. Period. The end. We are seeing no will to appropriately fund public schools. To lose 600 professionals is absolutely devastating, especially to kids with special needs ... It is absolutely mind-boggling that somebody that claims to care about public education can destroy 5,000 jobs since he took office (the Mayor) ... We're looking at schools that are in dire straits... We really have to change the political landscape in Chicago."