According to the Associated Press, in a 5-2 vote this Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court has made a ruling that laid-off tenured teachers in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system do not have the right to be rehired at a later time. The decision followed a major debate after about 1,300 teachers were laid off and then 715 were rehired, but preference was not given to tenured instructors.
Despite the nearly split ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court stated that state law does not require the Chicago Board of Education to give preference to laid-off tenured teachers when rehiring. Here are some facts about the debate and the events leading up to it:
* WLS reported that in June 2010, the Chicago Board of Education approved a plan that would lead to the layoff of up to 2,700 teachers as a way to tackle the school system's growing budget deficit of nearly $600 million.
* Prior to approving the offs, the CPS attempted to negotiate with the teachers unions in order to avoid the large number of job cuts, including having instructors forfeit all or at least a portion of their 4 percent pay raise.
* CPS chief Ron Huberman also proposed laying off teachers with the lowest performance marks instead of basing layoffs on just seniority, reported Chicago Breaking News.
* The union quickly criticized this layoff method, saying it violated the contract agreed on in 2007, which states layoffs are to be based on tenure.
* Of the 1,300 instructors who were laid-off, more than 60 percent of them were tenured, noted the Chicago Tribune.
* Just a few months later, a federal judge ruled that the layoffs of more than 700 tenured teachers was handled improperly and the judge ordered that CPS had to work with the union on a process that would give preference to tenured teachers when rehiring.
* News One reported that the Chicago Teachers Union has also accused CPS of racism in its series of layoffs in 2011.
* The union filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office that argues that African-American teachers were removed disproportionately to white teachers.
* Instead of accepting the court ruling, CPS appealed the decision and it was handed to the Illinois Supreme Court, a higher court than the previous one, according to CBS Local.
* Aside from arguing that preference for tenured instructors was not state law, CPS officials added that most tenured teachers from the 2010 layoffs were able to find new teaching positions within the school system in just a few months.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.