CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Attorneys for the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are scheduled to head back to federal court Thursday, over the union’s lawsuit challenging the layoffs of hundreds of teachers last summer.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, 1,300 teachers were let go last summer, for what CPS said were financial reasons.
A federal appeals panel ruled the layoffs should be rescinded. The court ruled that CPS did not have the right to fire teachers without regard to seniority or tenure.
But the school system and the Teachers’ Union are at odds over whether that means the teachers actually have to be rehired.
Still, Teachers Union president Karen Lewis says the lawsuit is not her only weapon.
“We do have grievances and arbitrations about this. We have the ability to file unfair labor practice,” Lewis said. “So there are a variety of ways to make our people whole.”
Lewis says about 800 of the laid off teachers found new jobs in the system. The rest are either retired or still out of work.
In June, the Chicago School Board passed a resolution giving then-CPS President Ron Huberman the power to lay off teachers without following union contracts.
Not long afterward, the layoffs began. Huberman made headlines when he introduced a resolution to lay off teachers with poor evaluations first, without regard to tenure or seniority.
The district never provided a count of how many poor performers were ultimately among those laid off, which the court later said violated union contracts.