Chicago Public Schools will lay off more than 700 staffers, but the district says it plans to fill nearly 2,000 open positions ahead of next school year.
On Thursday, the final day of the 2019-20 school year, CPS announced it will lay off 703 employees, including 286 teachers, as part of its annual staffing adjustments, which the district said are caused by declining enrollment, changing student demographics and programmatic changes.
The rest of the layoffs were comprised of school-based support personnel, though CPS said it has opened far more positions and will now begin hiring to fill more than 1,900 open spots across the district before classes resume in the fall.
“The district has continued to recruit for hard-to-staff positions and has implemented no-contact virtual hiring procedures to ensure schools are able to continue staffing for next year,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in a statement. “Consistent with previous years, the number of available positions far exceeds the number of impacted staff and the district will be hosting several virtual hiring events in the coming weeks.”
The layoffs amount to 1.3% of all teachers and 4.2% of support staff across the district.
Last year, CPS laid off 220 teachers, but it said nearly two-thirds of them were rehired in full-time CPS positions, while another 9.1% came back as substitutes. According to the district, nearly all impacted tenured teachers receive full pay and benefits through next school year and non-tenured teachers are offered long-term substitute teaching positions through next school year, which also carry health benefits.
CPS said these staffing changes only represent positions staffed at the school level, which doesn’t include social workers and nurses. The district said it will have a “record high” number of those positions after adding spots for 55 more nurses and 44 more social workers, bringing the districtwide total of those positions to 426 and 536, respectively.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CPS implemented a no-contact, virtual staff hiring process. The district is planning to hold several virtual hiring events in June and July.