Lawsuit: Laid Off CPS Teacher Can’t Get His Unemployment Benefits

CHICAGO (CBS) — A laid off Chicago Public Schools teacher is taking his former employer to court.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, Nkrumah Collins has been unable to collect his unemployment benefits.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

Collins says he filed for unemployment when he was laid off on July 1. But his benefits were denied by the state, which told him that CPS claimed he was still employed and was still getting bi-weekly paychecks.

He said CPS “laid me off without laying me off,” a violation of Chicago Board of Education policy, according to the complaint.

Hopkins says he has demanded written notice of his termination, but has not received it.

He says he wants the notice by next Monday because without his unemployment benefits, he is falling behind on his financial obligations. His rent is due Monday for a new apartment where he lives with his wife and toddler son.

No one at CPS was available to comment on the complaint Thursday evening.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.


    SURPRISE, SURPRISE………… NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Audrey

      Cps never pays unemployment what you have to do is get a lawyer and file a law suit. I left after being assaulted and never got unemployment. We pay all that money for nothing CPS is a poor system to work for.

  • Amy

    Technically, this teacher is not officially laid off until the paychecks stop. All teachers receive extended pay, which means their salary for the 10 month school year is paid out over 12 months. If he was on Track E, then he does qualify because the new year has begun for those teachers and extended pay has ended. If he was on regular track, he is still receiving paychecks through August and does not qualify for unemployment.

    • citizen

      Not true Amy. It doesn’t matter if your employer is still issuing pay to you if it is in the form of deferred pay (as is the case for this teacher who is just being paid for work he did months ago) or in the form of severance (I know of friends who got severance payments for six months equal to their normal salary AND collected unemployment…this is completely legal and within the guidelines.

      • Amy

        I did not realize that double-dipping was legal. That does not seem right to me as a taxpayer.

      • FR

        With severance, it is up to the employer whether or not to allow unemployment benefits.

  • scharf

    The smartest person at CPS is a complete obscene moron! The worst school system in the country ran by the worst people!

    • Judy

      scharf, I agree with you completely. also, this system has the worst principals and students. many of the teachers aren’t so hot either.

    • RetiredinAz1


  • Stacy

    This happened to me! I was not receiving deferred pay. Unemployment said that since I was signed up to be a daily sub, I was technically still employed by CPS. I tried to explain that it was hit or miss if I got called to sub but it did not matter. CPS refused to give me any written notice. It’s a losing battle with CPS. They are complete crooks!

  • Stacy

    Amy, deferred pay is for work that has “already” been done! Instead of being paid during the school year, they break it up over 12 months so that you get a check every month. It’s not double dipping. Some schools districts give an option as to whether you want your check in full each month or spread out. So before you make ridiculous comments, do a little research first.

  • snicks

    This is not double dipping. CPS is extending out payments for a job already done. CPS is ahead of the game with the interest money they are earning on spreading out payments to employees for work already completed.

    If you went to work for Macy’s as Christmas help, and they decided to pay you all the money you earned spread out equally every two weeks until June 1st, do you not think you should be getting unemployment?

  • Chivi

    Work for 9 months and the job is done????? I don’t think so!!! our kids need more education just as much as teachers need to work all year just like the rest of us.

    • Die Hard White Sax Fan

      Yeah- no fair! I don’t wanna raise my brats! That’s what the teachers are for, right?

      • CPSGrad

        Really! And I don’t even have children. WHy should my tax money go to educate your kids at all??

  • snicks

    The job at hand is done – the job of teaching students in the classroom. And teachers do work the rest of the year. And they work long hours during the school year. The “rest of you” should get a job teaching so you can have first hand knowledge of the profession and what exactly it entails.

    • Judy

      They know nothing about the “profession” but they tell teachers what should be done. Many times it can be done if you did not have to stop teaching and break up a fight or deal with ingorant parents and snobbish principals that feel as if they know everything. My sister and many others wish they have never got an education degree, they state that it was not worth it. Especially at CPS.

  • Chivi

    Teachers need to work all year round!! I have a relative that’s a teacher and I know what the real story is!!! I see all the teacher friends and the stories they tell. The good ones are outnumbered!!! They need to work all year no matter what anyone says!!! Our taxes pay their checks so they should work all year round!!! What about the teacher’s kids??? Who raises those brats while the teachers are working?? Yep!! We are all in the same boat except we don’t get 3 months off!! Get to work and stop whining!!!

    • Matt

      As a school teacher I agree we should work all year long. But the facts are that most school systems cannot afford to pay us for working the whole year. Personally in these hard economic times I could sure use another $15,000 to $30, 000 a year for working the entire year.

  • Tea Party Hero

    Another lazy person on the government dole that wants a handout.

    I guess the short work days and 3 months vacation every year wasn’t enough for him.

    Meanwhile, he wants wealthy, job-creators who worked for every penny that they have to provide him money to pay for his bills.

    Shame on him. And shame on our tax code that encourages socialism and transferring wealth.

    You want to pay your bills, get a job and stop taxing those who provide jobs for losers like yourself.

    • Lyndia

      Excuse me but where is this person a loser? He lost his job and he deserves unemployment. Who said this person was on the public dole? Again, he lost his job and deserves unemployment. Who said he wants wealthy, job creators to pay his bills. Your reasoning and line of logic is flawed.

    • Laura

      I’m a laid off teacher with prior experience in the private sector, but I have been unable to find a job in either the public or private sectors. Can you provide links to these Job-Creators? I have excellent communication and professional skills that can be applied in several fields. Considering my son has aged out of day care, I have no debt, have saved a little, and we live very frugally, 24k might be enough — well, excluding health costs. Seriously, can you hook me up with a Job-Creator?

  • Today's $700M Budget Announcement (upd) | District 299: The Inside Scoop on CPS

    […] Laid Off CPS Teacher Can’t Get His Unemployment Benefits CBS2: Collins says he filed for unemployment when he was laid off on July 1. But his benefits were denied by the state, which told him that CPS claimed he was still employed and was still getting bi-weekly paychecks. […]

  • Tea partiers are MORONS

    I’m not at all surprised at the stupidity of the “Tea Party Here’s” opinions seeing that the average I.Q. of a “Tea Party ” member is less than that of the average tree! Let me fill you in on a few facts Mr “Tea Party Here”: Teachers work LONG HOURS not just the few hours of the school day but AFTER & BEFORE s
    school preparing lesson plans and grading papers to educate you (who obviously didn’t pay attention) and your spoiled brats. many of us TEACH SUMMER SCHOOL and are OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID . So PLEASE comment on something you know about…if anything like that even exists.

  • Hey! Tea Party Here!!!

    Do you want to live where you don’t have taxes, don’t have a strong government shaping your life with laws and regulations, where people are deeply religious and traditions are maintained? Do you want to live in a country where you can own and carry guns without a lot of hassles and where business is not hobbled with taxes, regulation, and oversight? Well, there is such a place: Somalia.Besides that you don’t even know what “socialism”is!

  • @Tea Party Here
  • Mike

    Many teachers do work a thankless job dealing with deadbeat students and parents. This guy deserves unemployment.

  • (nazis)

    Tea Party members ARE socialists!!!…..NATIONAL SOCIALISTS!

  • retiredinAZ1

    I worked for 34 years in the CPS……..a lot of idiots in command!

    So glad I am out of there and now working for a fantastic district in AZ!

  • fist of legend

    Give the guy his money I say. Whats with all the teacher bashing going on in this nation. Yes there are some bad teachers just like there are some bad workers in all jobs. Its a tough demanding job that I would not do in a heart beat.

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