AM News: Layoff Ruling Won't Save Teachers

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Federal Judge Orders CPS to 'Rescind' Teacher Layoffs WBEZ:  Chicago Public Schools to "rescind" the layoffs of tenured teachers who were laid off earlier this year... Judge sides with union in Chicago teacher layoffs  Tribune: In a blow to the Chicago Public Schools, a federal judge on Monday sided with the Chicago Teachers Union by ruling that last ...Judge gives laid off Chicago teachers second chanceCPS General Counsel Pat Rocks says the ruling demands that the district and union agree on a procedure to allow tenured teachers to compete for existing vacancies... CPS turns off the heat on Pilsen protesters Pilsen parents Monday accused Chicago Public Schools officials of cutting off the heat in the Whittier School field.. .25 most dangerous neighborhoods 2010 This year, Chicago took the not-so coveted top spot from Cincinnati for the most dangerous neighborhood [60612], while Atlanta has the highest number of neighborhoods making the list (four).

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  • it's not as certain as all that -- teachers with poor ratings could still be left out, and school officials say they may appeal the ruling acc to wgn,0,4727965.story

  • If CPS appeals this decision to the 7th Cir Court of Appeals they will likely lose. The 7th is fairly conservative and simply put the existing state law and the existing contract between the CTU and CPS are very clearly in favor of the CTU. The decision is similar to hundreds written to enforce the provisions of thousands of contracts. Contract law is based on the principle expressed in the Latin phrase pacta sunt servanda ("agreements are to be kept").

    The "Common Law" a historic book that was written by the extremely conservative Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1881 has been cited by Richard Posner, the most cited legal scholar of all time, and who is one of the leading judges on the 7th. Justice Holmes devoted considerable space to contracts in his book. The historical standard for voiding a contract under Common Law is very high and I just do not see the 7th even considering that issue in this case.

    Why would the CPS spend the taxpayers money on this appeal, moreover why are members of Chicago's media lending credibility to this long shot appeal? Do they hate unions that much?

    I think a while back I wrote that CPS if it wants to change the order of layoffs from strick seniority it had to offer the CTU something in return. But CPS just attempted to jam this down the union's throat and offered nothing. This was a profound mistake by Mr. Huberman and whoever was advising him. Mr. Huberman might have been able to make a deal with the CTU on layoffs, one that would have been supported by the vast majority of hard working teachers who have high ratings and may have been good for children too. Instead, the CPS created fear among teachers who had more than just a few years of seniority and they will now defend what they have because they can not trust the CPS.

    This is a very bad situation going into the next contract discussions.

    Rod Estvan

  • Whittier parent Manuel Beltran said parents will stick it out by using electric heaters. "They want us to run away but we are not going to," Manuel said, "We are not going anywhere!" Concerned citizens who want to support the Whittier parents and their fight to keep the fieldhouse as a library can donate these items to the parents: Books, book stands, bottled water, coffee, markers, scotch tape, posters, heat lamps, glue sticks, colored paper, dry-erase markers and blankets. These items can be dropped off at Whittier Elementary School Fieldhouse, 1900 W. 23rd Street, Chicago, IL 60608. Thanking you in advance.

  • I hope CPS makes a very serious effort in the next 30 days to work out a rehiring process. If this is done wrong, i.e. not a good effort, CPS could be ordered to fire many newly hired teachers who do not have tenure and were hired by principals to open or redefined positions this year. It is not these young teachers fault that they were hired by principals who appear to have been encouraged via unwritten messages or understandings from CAOs to hire these younger and less costly young teachers.

    At this time there is no public information on how many first year teachers CPS hired this school year but all these hires could be at risk if CPS handles this wrong. It is time for CPS to make peace with the CTU.

    The media has a role to play here too. Both the Tribune and Sun Times editorial boards gave a thumbs up to CPS sticking it to the CTU. Maybe, just maybe, these editorial boards can end the class war talk of arguing effectively that CPS unionized teachers are in mass lazy louts who make way too much money. Both the Sun Times and Tribune should urge the CPS to seek a reasonable compromise and discourage wasting the public money on an appeal to the 7th Cir Court of Appeals.

    Rod Estvan

  • sounds like CPS is going to appeal from this WBEZ update

    but i'm not sure what they'd be appealing, since i'm not sure that the ruling requires them to rehire folks en masse.

    great comments today, btw -- thanks!


  • Today CPS raised the money issue. Stating this decision could cost $30 million and CPS did not know where that money could come from. This was a quote from Alicia Wincker this morning. She also said it could cost 500 non-tenured teachers their jobs. Given that CPS is going into this effectively leaderless, with Mr. Huberman wisely going into the private sector, CPS appears disorganized in relation to its tactics for the court ordered negotiations over recall rules.

    Unfortunately for Ms. Wincker the state school code has a provision for just this situation. This can be found in Section 17-2.5 of the School Code. Basically this section of the School Code allows CPS to increase property taxes to pay for the costs of tort judgments and settlements. This section allows CPS to exceed the property tax cap if necessary to pay for settlements. A tort is not normally a contract violation. But there is an exception to the use of this section of the school code for tortious interference with contract which I think may be applicable in this situation.

    I am not sure the money argument will work for CPS. Let's work out a deal here. Let's get honest and fill all possible positions with teachers who have been laid off out of tenure order. Then lets look at how many new first year teachers were hired and create a rational plan for some of these positions to be reopened with some of these first year teachers if necessary being laid off.

    If necessary CPS should create a formal court approved settlement for those teachers who lost salary and this could be paid for using new dollars authorized by the Board under Section 17-2.5 of the School Code. Legally the money can be found to end this issue quickly if CPS choses to do so. It is in the interest of CPS students for a process to be completed rapidly without further litigation.

    Rod Estvan

  • If the individual had to find a new job because the individual was wrongly terminated, then that's a valid cost that was logically incurred by the individual as a direct result of the malfeasance of the employer. The court allows reasonable costs and this strikes me as imminently reasonable.

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