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Thomas Kelly High School Losing 23 Teachers in CPS Layoffs

By Chloe Riley | July 19, 2013 3:23pm | Updated on July 19, 2013 3:34pm
 Thomas Kelly High School in Brighton Park is just one of hundreds put on probationary status by CPS.
Thomas Kelly High School in Brighton Park is just one of hundreds put on probationary status by CPS.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIGHTON PARK — A total of 23 teachers and 10 staff positions have been cut at Thomas Kelly High School, a local school council member said.

Sean Diller, Kelly’s one orchestra teacher, was one of the 23 who received a pink slip.

At a Chicago Teachers Union rally Friday, called to protest Chicago Public Schools acknowledgement Thursday that more than 1,000 instructors would lose their jobs, Diller said his absence from the school could mean up to 90 additional chorus students in a class.

"Music teachers love to have a lot of students, but one teacher only goes so far," he said. "I hurt for my kids."

The school — at 4136 S. California Ave. — saw up to $4 million in budget cuts this year with even money budgeted towards supplies being cut in half.

Kelly High School Staff Cuts
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Chicago Public Schools

"This is an outrage for the Brighton Park community," said Anita Caballero, president of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and mother of three Kelly graduates.

Caballero also cited the potential lack of money for toilet paper at the school.

"Toilet paper! What are they gonna use for toilet paper, their hands?" she said.

Raul Magdaleno, an assistant principal at Kelly, said he was unable to comment on the teacher layoffs.

“Because of our size and because we’re already limited on resources, the cuts go deep,” said Carolyn Brown, a Kelly reading teacher and local school council member. 

Math, history, and music teachers were cut, as well as many teachers who doubled as extracurricular coaches, Brown said. 

Brown said some teachers may be hired back due to a federal grant that school recently received. But she said she also worried that Kelly’s “Start on Time” program — in which teachers monitor hallways during the day — would be cut due to the lack of staff.

The Start on Time program was featured in a CPS video in May highlighting the school’s success. 

“Everyone just kind of feels sick,” Brown said. “Those of who still have our jobs have kind of a survivor’s guilt feeling.”