CHICAGO (AP) — Nearly 850 Chicago Public Schools employees received layoff notices Friday, hours after officials said they had identified $52 million in administrative and operational cuts to help close an estimated $1 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.
Eliminating almost 100 central office positions and adopting more efficient building maintenance will help save $20.7 million, on top of $31.6 million in cuts announced earlier this year, officials said. They did not estimate how much the district might save through layoffs — most resulting from a Board of Education decision last month to close 50 schools and programs — because some workers will be eligible to reapply for other jobs.
CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett called the deficit “historic.” She said the district will spend the next several weeks looking for more ways to trim expenses but will try to avoid cuts that would affect students.
“Next year’s budget will not come without painful decisions, which is why we are making tough choices at central office in order to minimize impacts to our classrooms,” Byrd-Bennett said in a written statement.
Officials say that since 2011, CPS has cut almost $600 million from the central office and programs that it funds.
The nation’s third-largest school district has been struggling to trim its deficit, which it said was inflated by a $400 million increase in its annual pension payments, salaries and flat or declining revenue.