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Laid Off CPS Teacher Sues Board of Ed. For Recall Laws Violation

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CHICAGO (STMW) – A laid off Chicago Public Schools teacher filed a proposed class action lawsuit Tuesday against the city’s Board of Education, claiming the firings violated recall laws.

Williette Price claims the Board of Education of the City of Chicago fired her and about 200 other teachers in violation of recall rules required for such layoffs, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

The suit claims that prior to June 2010, the board never discharged laid off teachers without continuing their salary for a limited period and continuing their employment for two years or more.

Beginning in June 2010, the board laid off Price and the other teachers without providing all employment rights and privileges, according to the suit. The board described the discharges as “honorable” and “not for cause,” the suit said.

The suit claims Illinois law requires the defendants to have rules and procedures for both the layoff and recall of teachers before they may displace teachers for economic or administrative reasons. It claims the layoffs were in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Illinois Constitution.

The suit claims the board has refused to put recall rules into place that would bring back the most qualified teachers when jobs become available. Instead, new teachers are being hired and experienced teachers who were laid off are not being given the chance to be rehired.

The three-count suit is asking for the proposed class to be certified, award Price and the class money for all loss of income plus legal fees.

CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll declined to comment on pending litigation.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union filed a similar lawsuit in federal court about the firings and recall rules against the city’s Board of Education in August 2010. Robin Potter, one of the attorney’s in Tuesday’s lawsuit, was not immediately available to comment on the timing of the most recent lawsuit.

A recent decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will allow the suit filed by the Chicago Teachers Union to be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court, which will rule on questions about the process in rehiring dismissed teachers.

On Monday, CPS issued a statement on the Seventh Circuit Court’s ruling.

“Our efforts last year resulted in principals/administrators making offers to rehire more than 65 percent of displaced teachers to vacant positions within CPS. Depending on the number of teachers affected, CPS anticipates that it will hold two or more interview opportunities for any displaced teachers during July and August,” the statement said.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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