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Court: Chicago teachers don’t have rehire rights

CPS attorney James C. Franczek Jr. Jennifer Dunn  hearing before Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board last year.  |

CPS attorney James C. Franczek, Jr. and Jennifer Dunn at a hearing before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board last year. | John H. White~Chicago Sun-Times.

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Updated: March 19, 2012 8:05AM



Hundreds of tenured Chicago Public School teachers laid off for economic reasons in 2010 did not have the right to be rehired to new jobs, unlike other teachers in the state, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday.

CPS officials hailed the decision as “historically significant” and a reaffirmation of reforms that began with the 1988 Chicago School Reform Act and the discretion it gave CPS principals to hire staff.

“The Illinois Supreme Court in this decision essentially upheld the right of [a CPS] principal to decide who is going to fill a vacancy,’’ said CPS attorney James Franczek.

However, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the opinion “amplifies Chicago’s separate and unequal practices.’’ The union disputes the 5-2 decision and is “evaluating its options,’’ Lewis said in a news release.

Tenured teachers with satisfactory records in other Illinois districts have the right to be rehired to fill vacancies for up to two years after an economic layoff. However the high court ruled Friday that tenured CPS teachers do not have that right.

Language deleted in 1995 from the Chicago School Reform Act that concerned layoffs and rehiring reflects a “clear legislative intent” to change the rights of CPS tenured teachers following an economic layoff, the justices found.

CPS officials noted that the court also ruled that CPS is not required to adopt a policy for rehiring laid off teachers, but if it does, job performance must be a factor in determining which teachers return to the work force,

The 5-2 decision came after 2010 budget cuts forced CPS to lay off 1,289 teachers. Later, federal funding allowed the rehiring of about 715 tenured teachers. The CTU complained that other positions were filled with new hires instead of laid-off tenured teachers.

A CTU attorney noted that the ruling is “advisory’’ and will be sent to a federal appeals courtp.



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