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

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.

  • tom sharp

    That being the same Board that rubber-stamped their then President Scott’s art purchases and $thousand dinners with taxpayers’ money

  • MQuigs

    I just read that the Board has filed an appeal to the Federal Appelate Court’s decision to upho;d the ruliing of the Seventh Ciruit Coutt’s decision, probably becaue these lawsuits are being filed by teachers now. I attended all of these federal hearings and Sally Scott the lawyer for CPS had the audacity to say, “Tenured teachers were given their due process, for they were notified of two job fairs to attend iin July and August”. This coming from the aame Sally Scott who wears Christian Louboutin shoes like Oprah wears that cost as much as a teacher makes in a month. Most of those teachers got their jobs back by there own merits and having to place in resumes and interviews, It also has been found out that the baord is detering principals from hiring tenured teachers and that will probably lead to futeur lawsuuits against teh board. I also read that these lawsuits and back pay for recalls are going to cost CPS at a minumum 30 million dollars, but what do they care becaue it is taxpayers money and all they have to do to get extra funds is to close a few more schools to pay for it. It is about time a large news network enlightens citizens the waste and malfunction that occurs within CPS executive’s decisions.

    • MQuigs

      Sorry for typos I could not read teh light font

  • Gerald Spencer

    Is this about being laid off without two years of pay? I mean, really? So . . . if you wanted to be hired you had to apply for the jobs? I mean, how hard is that? Teachers, after all, should know how to read and write well enough to complete an application. Two years of pay? Again, I mean, really?

  • Lourdes Guerrero

    On the radio the other day, I heard about a company that services computers. They proudly stated that their tech crew had an average of over 10 years experience. Don’t Chicago Public School children deserve to be treated better than computers?

    It’s so sad that the Board of Education is willing to be sued (it’s not their money) in order to keep the best-experienced, caring, tenured teachers from our children.

    I spent eight years in CPS and loved teaching so much that I went back to school to earn a Masters degree. I took out loans while my own children were in school in order to learn more about my field—Instructional Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction and Cognitive Aesthetics. But I got too expensive. I, too, was honorably dismissed. I did nothing wrong.

    If I had thrown a child out of a window, I would have received due process and kept my benefits. But because I was a good teacher (Highly Qualified, Superior Rated for all my reviews), I was fired without due process. I lost my benefits and because teachers don’t pay into Social Security, I may never see my pension. I did nothing wrong. They call this honorable?

    Children need stability in their schools. They need to know there are some things that don’t change. They can’t respect the new face—one of several—each and every year they get in their schools. (“If teachers don’t stick around, why should I?”) They certainly can’t respect someone whose education and experience is not valued by the very system that, supposedly, wants them to become educated. Really, what’s the point?

    As my co-worker, Wilfredo Santana used to say, “This is the one profession in which your education and experience is held against you.”

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