City Colleges of Chicago is laying off 120 employees, part of larger cuts planned in response to the prolonged state budget crisis.
Chancellor Juan Salgado announced the cuts Wednesday to outline priorities for his spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Reductions also will include 10 percent pay cuts for senior leadership. City Colleges also plans to sell the district headquarters at 226 W. Jackson Blvd. and move administrative staff to the Kennedy-King College in Englewood and Dawson Technical Institute in Bronzeville.
Most of the layoffs are staffers in the central office, Salgado said.
“This was by far the hardest decision, recognizing the impact it has on people’s lives and families,” Salgado wrote in a campus announcement. “This decision comes with consequences that I feel deeply and yet know they are necessary for our students’ and institution’s success over the long term.”
City Colleges also will be eliminating 100 percent pension contributions and full medical reimbursements for district officers, Salgado said. Other planned savings will come from slashed travel expenses, reduced spending on materials, contracts and supplies, and adjusted class scheduling to match demand, Salgado said.
Salgado added he felt the cuts would shift resources toward students and colleges, and help retain full-time faculty, advisors and admissions staff.
“We have all heard stories of tough times at colleges across Illinois, but I want you to know that City Colleges of Chicago will remain open and classes will start on time this fall,” Salgado wrote. “By making strategic decisions, we will continue to make strides in student outcomes and to invest in our colleges and communities.”
Tony Johnston, City Colleges faculty union president, said the layoffs don’t affect any members of his union and declined to comment further on the administration’s action.
The layoffs come at a time where City Colleges has experienced a significant decline in enrollment and what administration officials have called an unprecedented state budget shortfall of $70 million in the last two years alone. The system has about 90,000 students at seven colleges and five satellite locations.
But district leaders are hopeful for a one-time cash windfall in selling the 14-story headquarters that sits across the street from the Willis Tower. The building currently is about one-third occupied.
Salgado announced the district’s intention to sell the facility earlier this week. Leaders plan to hire a broker within the next month, he said.
Chicago Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Ryan Ori contributed
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June 29, 2017 at 04:33PM