Chicago Public School District appeals ruling on teacher layoffs

January 7, 2011

Emily Wilensky

Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian

Chicago Public Schools is ratcheting up its response to a Chicago Teachers Unions lawsuit over recent teacher firings. CPS and the union were in appellate court today. The district is appealing a federal judge's October decision that the district improperly fired more than 700 tenured teachers.

Tom Geoghegan is an attorney for the teachers union. He said the way teachers were laid-off violated due process.
 
“We're challenging their ability to say you're fired to teachers who have earned permanent appointments by merit within the state law,” he said.
 
Sally J. Scott represents the school district. She argued no state law or school code was broken in the summer layoffs of teachers, and that due process was upheld. In her court presentation, she said laid-off teachers were given the opportunity to participate in CPS job fairs and post their qualifications online in an attempt to regain employment.
 
Lourdes Guerrero was a tenured teacher who was laid off from CPS after eight years. She said the job fair “opportunity” was a dead end and not an example of due process.
 
“We showed up to the job fair and I met wonderful people and then they said yes, let’s get your information,” she said. “And then I find out when I go back to the school, because they never called me back and I find out that they hired brand new teachers.”
 
Scott says she expects the appellate court to decide whether to uphold the October decision within 30 days.