CTU victory in Springfield on Chicago layoff procedures?

In the current legislation, SB7, to reform the Illinois School Code that passed out of the Illinois Senate April 14, 2011, there would be a more complex lay off process that mandates a recall procedure. From the first reading of the layoff section of the bill, it looks like a victory for Chicago teachers and defeat for the Chicago Board of Education. CPS would be barred from arbitrary, "make it up as we go," lays offs like last summer, June 2010. Under the new law, CPS would have to create a list of people to be placed into vacancies before new hires.

Sources close to the negotiations of SB7 were clear that CPS was lobbying against the layoff and recall provisions. The complete text of the 100-page legislation (which still hasn't become law) is available now at the CTU website (

Below are five point in the legislation that would put restrictions on how the Chicago Board of Education lays off teachers and hires new teachers. As it did with its Federal Court victory (10-cv-04852), the Chicago Teachers Union again is protecting the rights of laid off teachers, forcing the Board to recall its veteran teachers first and monitoring its hiring practices.

One of the ironies of the past week is that some of the most outlandish criticisms of the current CTU leadership has been coming from the people who negotiated the old contract (the one that filed to put layoff and rehiring provisions into the contract in the event of economic layoffs, thereby hamstringing the union in the federal litigation that has just ended). During the CTU House of Delegates meeting on April 13, members of the United Progressive Caucus harped on the question of why CTU couldn't win back the jobs of the teachers who were cut last summer, ignoring the fact, clearly noted in the Seventh Circuit decision, that CTU didn't have contract language protecting teachers during layoffs and for rehiring under the current contract. That contract was negotiated by Marilyn Stewart in the summer of 2007, as we reported at Substance, and voted on by the same people who were complaining in 2011.

Under the new law, the Chicago Board of Education would have to provide a 45-day certified notice of lay off before end of school year to every teacher to be laid off. This provision provides prior notice of lay off: in CPS this would be about middle of April. CPS would be prohibited from hiding lay offs from teachers as is current practice. In 2010, just as the new leadership of the union was coming to power, the Chicago Board of Education and then CEO Ron Huberman quickly declared an "economic emergency" (at its June 15, 2010 special meeting) and then spent the rest of the summer (June, July and August) laying off more than 1,300 teachers and 500 PSRPs without following any procedures. The rationale was supposedly that they could do anything they wanted in an "economic" emergency.

That should change in the new law. Any teacher laid off has to be fully compensated for all moneys owed three days after the last day of school. CPS would be prohibited from holding on to millions of dollars and would have to pay out in a lump sum top all teachers laid off.

SB 7 establishes a joint committee on honorable dismissals. The Union would be part of the lay off process with a 75-day notice, meaning that the Board would have to notify the Union by the Last week of February of impending lay offs.

Each board, including the governing board of a joint agreement, shall, in consultation with any exclusive employee representatives, each year establish a sequence of honorable dismissal list categorized by positions and the groupings 20 defined in this subsection (b). Copies of the list must be distributed to the exclusive bargaining representative at least 75 days before the end of the school term, provided that the school district or joint agreement may, with notice to any exclusive employee representatives, move teachers from grouping one into another grouping during the period of time from 75 days until 45 days before the end of the school term.

Each teacher, approximately 30,000 in CPS, must be classified in four separate categories in order of evaluations based performance criterion and seniority by May 10 if there is to be a lay off. In taking account the size and decentralization of the district this would be almost impossible when factoring in the complexities and current non-uniform subjective evaluation process of teachers. This would also mean the speeding up of the evaluation process by principals including coordination of all data collected long before the contractual timeliness of efficiency ratings.

Each teacher must be categorized into one or more positions for which the teacher is qualified to hold, based upon legal qualifications and any other qualifications established in a district or joint agreement job description, on or before the May 10 prior to the school year during which the sequence of dismissal is determined.

Teachers with excellent ratings would be last on the list to be laid off. . SB7 is clear that there shall be no new hires before laid off teachers recall: list to be used to recall teachers back to work before new hires:

any vacancies beginning of the following school term, the positions thereby becoming available must be tendered to the teachers so removed or dismissed

The complete legislation is available on line in its current iteration. We will update this report when the final law is signed into law by Governor Quinn.


We are not publishing the layoff section of the proposed legislation here because of formatting problems.


April 15, 2011 at 6:27 AM

By: Rod Estvan

SB 7

I think last night's vote in the Senate, 100% in favor of the bill shows that it was politically impossible for the CTU, IEA, and IFT to attempt to retain greater seniority based rights in the General Assembly. It was clear to all of us who lobby in Springfield that the House and Senate Democratic leadership were more than willing to support aspects of the Stand for Children Performance Counts bill. Which I publicly opposed in hearings.

Do I think that this bill will improve the quality of education for children in Chicago, my answer is no. SB 7 is another feel good bill that has no link to funding. Right now the State is rapidly falling behind in general state aide and special education payments to hundreds of school districts in Illinois. We are looking at really very large layoffs across our state in the education sector.

If the voucher bill passes and is expanded we will likely see charter schools losing more students than traditional public schools and yet a new crisis for CPS as these schools fail. I think one thing becomes very clear from this experience and that is the union movement as a whole has hitched its wagon to the Democratic party and that party under Obama is moving rapidly to the right.

It is easy to start yelling about labor needing to break from the Democratic party and calling for a labor based party, it is far harder to do it in practice. SB 7 presents that problem clearly, there is little doubt that if the Republicans swept Illinois we would be seeing laws adopted like in Wisconsin and Ohio, so SB 7 relatively speaking looks good. But labor and progressives who are fighting to retain what little is left of human services in our state have to begin somewhere to move away from dependence on the Democratic Party. We are being sold down the drain again and again. I am not wise enough to know how to do this and yet not have virtually all labor rights destroyed while a break from the Democratic party takes place.

Rod Estvan

April 15, 2011 at 3:44 PM

By: There are teachng job advertised now in the CPS

CPS should employ layed-off teachers

Human Resources Bulletin--how can those teachers who were layed-off, and have high evaluations, get into these jobs?

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