Claypool continues claims of austerity, pushes plan to demand three 'furlough' days from all union workers in CPS...

Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool during the February 24, 2016 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public school system, Forrest Claypool, announced on March 3, 2016 that CPS workers will face "furlough days" between now and the end of the school year. The "furlough" plan is supposed to deal with the supposed "deficit," which Claypool has been adjusting in amount claimed since he took office in July 2015. Prior to taking over the school system, Claypool was serving as "Chief of Staff" to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Claypool's main executive experience prior to that was a head of the Chicago Transit Authority.

The Chicago Teachers Union immediately issued a statement saying that Claypool's announcement all but guarantees that the union will walk out April 1.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Stephanie Gadlin

March 3, 2016 312/329-6250 (office)

312/890-0866 (cell)

The Mayor's Handpicked Board issues new 1.6% pay cut to CTU educators and all but assures teachers will walk on April 1st

CHICAGO-Moments ago, the Chicago Board of Education added insult to injury to every teacher, paraprofessional and clinician by announcing it would impose three furlough days this school year, causing educators to potentially lose a whopping 8.6 percent loss in pay. The first furlough, Friday, March 25th, marks the start of the Easter holiday season.

In an email forwarded to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), the Board writes:

Please be advised that the Board is modifying its academic calendar for SY15-16 and will conducting 3 furlough days of employees on the following days:

* March 25, 2016

* June 22, 2016

* June 23, 2016

The reason for these actions is to improve the Board's cash flow. Employees will no longer be scheduled to work on those days and will not be paid on those days. To the extent that teachers redistributed the flex PD day on June 23 and have already work the time, they will be paid. Employee benefits will not be affected.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the impact of this decision, please feel free to call me and I will schedule a meeting with you.

Notices are being sent to employees via electronic mail simultaneously with this communication. A copy of the employee communication will be transmitted to you separately.

CTU President Karen Lewis denounced the cuts by saying this (action) "only strengthens our resolve to shut down the school district on April 1st," she said. "The mayor is already seeking a 7 percent pay cut and today's directive adds another reduction in salary and benefits. They should have never extended the school year in the first place if they couldn't afford to do so."

The "pension pickup" has been in the contract since 1981, and was agreed to in lieu of salary increases. It requires CPS to pay 7 percent of teachers' salary to the pension fund instead of to the teachers. If CPS does not pay the 7 percent, teachers must pay this pension fund requirement themselves. Such action would therefore constitute a pay cut and therefore would make a strike permissible under an interpretation of state law.

On March 3, 2016, Claypool sent the following message by email to all CPS workers:

Dear March 3, 2016

Dear CPS Employees:

The Districts financial crisis remains unresolved. The more than $120 million in reductions to Central Office and school budgets this school year have made important progress towards closing this fiscal years $480 million budget gap and next years $1.1 billion deficit, but these cuts alone do not provide us with the financial resources we need to keep our doors open and pay for critical capital repairs for the remainder of the school year. More savings are needed.

Consequently, this letter is to inform you that all CPS employees will be affected by three furlough days between now and June 30th. This action comes after many months of our most challenging year yet, and is no ones first choice, including mine. However, this will save us $30 million in this fiscal year, providing much needed relief.

On each furlough day, affected employees will be required not to work, and will not be paid (however, benefits will remain uninterrupted). Schools, as well as Central and Network offices will be closed, student attendance will be cancelled as needed, and the days will be eliminated from CPS 2015-2016 academic year calendar. More details on the specific days are below.

Please know that we continue to negotiate in good faith with the Chicago Teachers Union to reach an agreement, which is one piece of a permanent solution. The most important piece is actually receiving equal funding from Springfield. Unfortunately, as hes made clear in recent weeks, Governor Rauner is more interested in forcing bankruptcy and taking over our schools than in addressing the unequal funding issues that hurt districts like ours across the state.

We know we cannot cut our way to a solution. However, the Governors inaction means we must continue to cut costs and ease our cash flow, so we can do whats necessary to ensure our classrooms are protected and our students progress is uninterrupted.

The furlough days are as follows [reminder, each employee will only be affected by three days]:

-- Friday, March 25, 2016: All employees will be impacted.

-- Thursday, April 21, 2016: Teachers, PSRPs and school-based ESPs are not affected. All other staff will be furloughed.

-- Friday, April 22, 2016: Teachers, PSRPs and school-based ESPs are not affected. All other staff will be furloughed.

-- Wednesday, June 22, 2016: Teachers, PSRPs, and school-based ESPs will be furloughed. All other staff will report to work, as regularly scheduled.

-- *Thursday, June 23, 2016: Teachers, PSRPs, and school-based ESPs will be furloughed. All other staff will report to work, as regularly scheduled. (*Note that teachers who have already worked the June 23rd day because they are in schools that redistributed the June 23rd Flex PD day will be paid for that day.)

As a result of this updated schedule, the last day of school for employees will be Tuesday, June 21, 2016 the same day as students. I will continue to provide updates as budget developments occur and I thank you for your continued sacrifices, support, and professionalism as we work towards a fair funding solution.

Sincerely, Forrest Claypool, Chief Executive Officer


March 4, 2016 at 3:57 PM

By: Liz Ryan


How much does it cost CPS to have staff make copies of Claypool's propaganda letter and distribute it to every child in CPS? This is the third time. Obviously Claypool could care less about duplicity.

March 4, 2016 at 4:19 PM

By: Elizabeth MacGregor


Rahm made the school year longer, Claypool now made it shorter. Not to mention those PD days go towards building better schools and teacher recertification. So now the Board is preventing teachers from continuing their education, making their schools better for their students, and taking pay cuts.

March 7, 2016 at 8:43 PM

By: Rachel Fowler

furlogh days

I didn't see any mention of Central Office employees being furloughed. I'm sure that a lot more money would be saved by having everyone furloughed if any one has to be furloughed. That would include Claypool and everyone down the line. Does the Board need all of the lawyers they have on roll? Plus, they hire outside firms to the tune of millions. Why can't in-house lawyers handle all cases?

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