CPS looks to hire 1,000 teachers after laying off 500

CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools is looking to hire 1,000 teachers less than two weeks after it laid off about 500 of them. The positions need to be filled in time for the school year to start Sept. 6.

CPS says there's nothing unusual about layoffs. CEO Forrest Claypool explained as shuffling teachers among schools that have enrollments that have declined to others that have had increases and nearly 60 percent of teachers given pink slips in years past were rehired.

But this year the district still has a budget gap of close to $150 million, so just how many will be rehired is still unknown.

That and the district’s plan to have teachers contribute more to their own pension plan has the teachers union fighting mad and planning to strike.

So this Saturday on the UIC campus the CTU will hold a daylong training seminar on the docket: One on one conversations, taking action and planning and winning strikes.

At an event this morning to announce his Our Great Rivers plan which aims to cleanup the Calumet, Chicago, and Des Plaines Rivers by 2040,  Emanuel repeated his call for union teachers to be part of the solution.

Tonight CTU President Karen Lewis made her feelings known at  a public forum CPS officials held to explain the district's $233 million dollar capital improvement plan. Lewis says reign in the plan for new buildings and invest in teachers and existing facilities instead.

"I think right now capital improvement is not a good idea and I think [they should] refocus their intent on how to close the gap in the budget,” Lewis said.

CPS Spokesman Emily Bittner issued this statement in response to Lewis.

“CPS teachers do extraordinary work, and they deserve the most generous contract that we can provide despite the District’s financial challenges. To do this, we've offered teachers a healthy net raise over the life of the contract, along with increasing taxes on Chicago taxpayers by $250 million to fund teachers' pensions and cutting hundreds of administrative jobs. We remain committed to reaching a fair agreement for our teachers that the district and taxpayers can afford.

"Chicago's students deserve to learn in school buildings that have air conditioning, are wired for technology, where the roof isn't leaking on their desks, where they don't have to put desks in the hallway because of overcrowding. Along with good teachers, children need a safe and comfortable place to learn."