Rehiring Boost Denied to Teachers With Tenure

     CHICAGO (CN) - Tenured schoolteachers whom Chicago laid off for economic reasons are not entitled to preference for open positions over new applicants, the 7th Circuit ruled.
     In 2010, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) "honorably discharged " 1,289 public school teachers, many of whom were tenured. With an increase in federal funding, it later recalled 715 teachers.
     One year later, the 7th Circuit ruled that tenured, laid-off teachers who were not rehired have a property interest in their continued employment, and Chicago's Board of Education must create a recall procedure to let former teachers fill vacant positions.
     That decision later unraveled , however, with the Illinois Supreme Court's refusal to recognize such a property right.
     Williette Price was one of the tenured teachers who lost her job during this round of layoffs.
     Her class action asserts that "by virtue of being tenured, a teacher in CPS has a permanent property interest in filling any existing open or vacant position in CPS for which she was qualified at the time of her layoff, even if it was not the position that teacher previously filled," according to the judgment.
     She claims CPS had new hires with little to no classroom experience fill many of the vacated positions, without giving laid-off teachers any notice of the vacancies for which they might be qualified.
     Last week, the 7th Circuit again ruled for the Board of Education, on the same ground that it vacated its 2011 opinion.
     "The Illinois Supreme Court's decisions in Land [v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chi.] and CTU III [Chi. Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v. Bd. of Educ.] stand for the proposition that tenured teachers do not have a protected property interest in getting rehired or in filling vacant positions for which they are qualified after being laid off," Judge Ann Williams wrote for the three-judge panel.
     "Because Price fails to point to any source for the property right she alleges exists, we need not consider what process she is entitled to protect that right," the opinion concludes.