The Chicago Teachers' Union continues to battle with Chicago Public Schools about staffing levels, classroom sizes and tenured teachers. Since late June, 1,322 teachers have been laid off, according to a press release CTU issued today, and the union estimates just 167 of those fired may be called back to the classroom. Liz Brown, a union spokeswoman, said the $106 million in federal aid CPS now has available could hire up to 1,000 positions. She said CTU will thus be monitoring future hires at the district closely and the press release anticipated a "class action grievance" about hiring. The Board of Education passed a $5.3 billion budget earlier this week.
The union has been demanding fired veteran teachers be brought back before any new hires are made for some time now. Earlier this month, CTU sued over the issue, alleging CPS was violating fired teachers' due process rights. Karen Lewis, the union president, hit that theme today, saying in the statement that parents should be "outraged" by the loss of tenured teachers. She went on:
Without tenured teachers, students are at increased risk. Tenured teachers strongly advocate for students’ legal right to full services, such as those for special needs students and English language learners. Tenured teachers enforce class size limits, safety and student discipline matters. Tenured teachers review the school’s budget to ensure the money goes to students in the classroom.
While CPS said the federal money would "restore" the average high school classroom size to 31 students, the union noted the contractually obligated maximum is 28.