March 29, 2011
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Chicago Teachers Union v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago, the case brought by the Teachers Union last August, alleging that tenured teachers who were honorably discharged as a result of economic layoffs were entitled to recall.
In a split 2-1 decision, the appeals court ruled that the reduction in force remains valid and that the Board is not required to reinstate or provide back pay to teachers who were laid off from June to August 2010. While the court recognized that CPS provided laid-off teachers opportunities to demonstrate their qualifications for existing vacancies within CPS through hiring fairs and resume workshops last summer, it ruled that the Board must issue formal procedures. However, the appeals court held that the district court went too far in ordering the Board to negotiate such procedures with the Union.
The Court emphasized that, under the School Code, the Board has sole discretion to issue recall procedures that would not impose excessive fiscal or administrative costs on CPS. In a dissent opinion, Judge Manion agreed with the majority that the trial court’s injunction must be narrowed, but disagreed that the Board had violated the teachers’ constitutional rights.
The Board is evaluating its legal options in light of today’s ruling.
Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.