Judge delays enforcing teacher layoff injunction

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A federal judge today put a hold on an earlier order that CPS negotiate
with the Chicago Teachers Union to retroactively change its teacher
layoff process.

A federal judge today put a hold on an earlier order that CPS negotiate with the Chicago Teachers Union to retroactively change its teacher layoff process.

The district is appealing U.S. District Judge David Coar’s Oct. 4 recall ruling and argued that no recalls should be made until the appeal had run its course.

CTU President Karen Lewis says she plans to ask the appeals court to expedite the process. Although many teachers have found other jobs, she says that about 400 tenured  teachers are still out of work.

In their motion for the stay, CPS attorneys argued that they have a good chance of winning their appeal, in which case a recall would not be necessary.

The stay is the latest in an ongoing battle between the district and the union that stems from budgetary layoffs over the summer. In making the layoffs, the board did not abide by seniority. Some were done because the teacher had unsatisfactory ratings; others because the position was no longer needed at the school. For example, a principal with three science teachers might have decided he needed only two.

Union officials contended that the district violated their collective bargaining agreement, which calls for the teachers with the least seniority to be let go first. When Coar issued his ruling on Oct. 4, Lewis declared it a victory for tenure.

Lewis contends that Coar’s ruling meant teachers would be reinstated and given back pay.

But district officials have a much different take. On Tuesday, Huberman reiterated the position that Coar’s ruling only called on the district to work with the union to develop recall rules.

And while that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, Huberman said the district was appealing the decision to settle the underlying point of whether teacher quality can be considered during budget layoffs. CPS officials have said that state law allows them to consider things other than seniority.

“I will pick this fight any day of the week,” Huberman said. “This is a fight about getting the best teachers in front of students.” 

Huberman said the union has done an injustice to laid-off teachers by giving them the impression that they would have their jobs back.

About 200 of the teachers who were laid off had unsatisfactory ratings, Huberman said. CPS officials say about 56 percent of the teachers who were laid off have since found new positions.

Outside of the lawsuit, the union has filed 464 grievances with CPS over teacher layoffs. Union spokeswoman Liz Brown says that CPS has denied 95 percent of them.

On Wednesday, the union will hold a press conference to call on CPS to use a federal grant money to hire back teachers and lower class sizes. Union officials believe CPS has the “Edu Jobs” money but is not properly using it.



CTU’s argument against the district’s request for more time