Story Summary

CPS officials close dozens of schools, lay off thousands

The board of education voted to shut down dozens of Chicago Public Schools. It’s the largest closure in U.S. history.

The board  voted to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program.

CPS also laid off more than 2,000 employees.

The district is facing a $1 billion budget deficit this year.


Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 10 updates

The Chicago Public School board wants higher taxes to balance its budget problems.

The board is proposing a 1.5 percent property tax hike to generate $89 million for CPS.

That breaks down to an extra $51 for a $230,000 home.

The city will also dip into its $700 million reserves.

CPS has already fired nearly 3,000 workers and closed 49 schools.

The board and Mayor Emanuel are blaming state lawmakers for the city’s financial woes.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget in August.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett talks to WGN Morning News about CPS budget proposal

The Chicago Public School Board announced a 1.5 percent property tax hike  proposal today in hopes of helping balance its bleak budget problems.

The increase will bring in an additional $89 million for CPS. CPS claims the tax increase comes out to an additional $51 for a $230,000 home.

The city will also dip into its $700 million reserves.

CPS has already fired 3,000 teachers and staff and closed roughly 50 schools.

The board and Mayor Emanuel are blaming Springfield legislators for their financial woes in Chicago. They say the tax is a temporary fix until Springfield cleans up pension problems overwhelming the rest of the system.

The vote by the school board takes place in August.

Several protests are planned Wednesday against CPS budget cuts.

The Chicago Teachers Union is picketing the district’s headquarters, before marching to the Thompson Center.

They are protesting the more than 3,500 layoffs since May, and a bill that would fund a basketball arena at DePaul University.

Parents rallying at City Hall are asking Mayor Emanuel to use TIF funds to restore art, music and gym programs.

And, CPS students plan to address the school board at Wednesday’s monthly meeting.

The district is facing a $1 billion budget deficit this year.

Chicago Public Schools lays off more than 2,000 employees, including more than 1,000 teachers. CPS to lay off more than 2,000 employees

Of the 1,036 teachers being let go, about half are tenured. The rest of those affected are non-teachers and support staff.

Back in June, CPS laid off 855 employees, including 420 teachers. They were let go because of the district’s decision to close 49 elementary schools and a high school program.

CPS’ latest lay offs come at a time when it’s struggling to fix a one billion dollar deficit.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released a statement Friday morning saying in part, “As a former principal and teacher, I share the frustration felt by many of our principals, teachers, and parents about the difficult decisions our schools are being forced to make because of the historic $1 billion deficit facing our district.”

She went on to point out the central office has already cut nearly $600 million since 2011.

The Chicago Teachers Union says in response, “It’s unconscionable for a mayor who has found creative ways to create new bike lanes, a bike share program, lure white collar jobs and massive investment to the loop and gold coast –  but yet blames Springfield and teachers for CPS’s budget crisis to layoff over 3,000 educators in the nation’s third largest school district.”

CPS is expected to lay off more than 2,000 employees today, and more than half of them are teachers.

The layoffs are in addition to the more than 800 employees who were let go last month as a result of school closures.

District officials say the cuts are necessary in order to close a $1-billion budget deficit, which they blame on the lack of pension reform in Springfield.

About half of the teachers being let go today are tenured.

The Chicago Teachers Union says CPS lied to parents, employees and the public about keeping budget cuts away from the classroom.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released this statement:

“As a former principal and teacher, I share the frustration felt by many of our principals, teachers, and parents about the difficult decisions our schools are being forced to make because of the historic $1 billion deficit facing our district. Driven by the lack of reform in Springfield, the pension crisis has arrived at our schools, and while we have reduced Central Office, administrative and operations spending by nearly $600 million since 2011 to mitigate the impact on our classrooms, we cannot cut our way out of this crisis. We need parents, LSCs, elected officials and school communities to join us as partners to secure pension relief and maintain critical investments that put our children on a path toward a bright future.”

Chicago Public Schools will be notifying employees of layoffs tomorrow and the ax is going to fall harder than what school officials had previously indicated.

In a conference call tonight with Chicago media, CPS said just over 1000 teachers will get pink slips and almost 1100 non-teaching positions will be eliminated.

It’s a total of about 2100 layoffs.

Earlier this year, CPS said it would only have to layoff about 850 employees, due to the closing of 5 schools because of a $1 billion dollar budget deficit.

The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement this evening saying CPS has once again lied to parents, employees, and the public about keeping the new school-based budget cuts away from the classroom.

The CTU says principals will be calling employees tomorrow regarding the layoffs.

Another dozen Chicago public schools closed for good today as CPS leaders announced new plans for getting kids to their new schools safely.

The so called Safe Passage program proposes hiring 600 people to run routes where 12,000 students will be attending new schools.

The program will be staffed by police officers, city workers and community volunteers.

Angry parents still aren’t satisfied, blaming Mayor Emanuel for the closures.

Some of them rallied outside one school, trying to register voters to vote him out of office.



Today is the last day of the school year in public schools across the city, and some schools are closing for good.

For 104 years Chicago students have been educated at the Trumbull Elementary School in the 5200 block of North Ashland Avenue. Today that all changed.

Students arrived this morning for what would be their last day of classes at Trumbull.

Thousands of CPS students being relocated as the remaining 21 schools slated for closure shut their doors today.

Next fall Trumbull students will be split between Chappell, McCutcheon or McPherson Schools.

Trumbull is one of 49 schools the CPS board is shutting down in the face of a massive budget deficit and empty classrooms.

Trumbull school librarian Ruth Resnick tells WGN it’s not her job, but the large number of special needs students at Trumbull that she is most concerned for.

A big issue with parents is getting children to their new schools through potentially unsafe neighborhoods.  For some parents, opening the shuttered schools is the only real solution.

Just this morning CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett announced a new proposal to add some 600 “safe passage” workers to keep kids safe.

The teachers union says it is simply not enough.

Monday is the last day of school for CPS Track R schools.

Some of those schools are closing for good, as part of the Chicago School Board’s consolidation plan.

Trumbull Elementary School in the Andersonville neighborhood is one of the schools closing for good at the end of the school day.

Students from Trumbull will be transferred to either Chappell, McCutcheon Or McPherson elementary schools in the Fall.

Parents have vowed to keep fighting to keep the schools open.

A group of Trumbull parents filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against CPS for the school’s closure, arguing the it discriminates against students in the special education program by not allowing them access to a top welcoming school.

Rallies and protests have been held across the city in the wake of these closures.

The Chicago Teachers Union argues the closing of 49 CPS schools is going to hurt student education and put students’ safety in jeopardy.

28 schools closed last week.  The remaining 21 permanent closures are slated for today.

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett says the closings of the schools is due to a utilization crisis.

She says instead of funding half-empty schools, that money should be going into children’s education.

Bennett is also tackling concerns about getting students to their new schools safely.

She released new recommendations Monday asking that 19 new community-based Safe Passage vendors be hired, to then hire 600 new Safe Passage workers.

Right now, Safe Passage workers help students get to and from 39 CPS schools.  It will be expanded to 51 schools in the Fall.

The school board still needs to approved the new recommendations.