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Chicago schools to cut 200 office jobs to save $16 million

Twenty-four “areoffices” have been consolidated in18 offices under CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. | John H. White~Sun-Times

Twenty-four “area offices” have been consolidated into 18 offices under CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 10, 2011 5:28PM

At least 200 jobs are being trimmed out of the Chicago Public School bureaucracy, for a savings of $16 million — leaving only $44 million in promised cuts to go, CPS officials said Thursday.

The job reductions are part of a reorganization of the office of chief education officer, which once employed 750 people. By the time the dust clears, it will be down to 550 people, CPS officials say.

New Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso said she is still planning an additional $34 million in “programmatic” cuts out of her office, many involving outside vendors, that were promised to help fill a $712 million budget deficit.

With the help of a consultant, Donoso said, CPS should be announcing them soon, along with $10 million in other central office cuts.

“The potential is there and we feel confident that with all our vendor contracts, we can find the difference,’’ Donoso said.

The job cuts are part of a reorganization in which 24 former “area” offices that serviced schools under former Schools CEO Ron Huberman were consolidated into 18 “network” offices that now help schools under new CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

In addition, various central office departments are being consolidated. Among those left on the cutting room floor is the Office of Performance Management — a signature Huberman initiative.

Donoso said she hopes to “radically change’’ the way the system provides professional development for teachers and administrators so that the central office functions as a “clearinghouse” of coherent, high-quality best practices offered by networks to schools. Previously, she said, the central office and area offices offered a hodgepodge of unrelated training.

Human Capital Officer Alicia Winckler said that in the last few weeks, scores of area and central office employees were told their positions were being closed but they could apply for new jobs in the new “network’’ or the central office structure.

Winckler refused to say exactly how many jobs are being closed and how many are being opened — only that they added up to a “net reduction’’ of 200 jobs — or a 25 percent reduction in network, central office and citywide staff.

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