Chicago Teachers Union Files Lawsuit To Stop 10 School Closings Listed In Hearing Officers' Reports
By Chuck Sudo in News on May 29, 2013 9:00PM
The Chicago Teachers Union filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Wednesday seeking an injunction to stop Chicago Public Schools' closure plan, based on the 10 elementary schools recommended in hearing officers reports to remain open.
The reports by the hearing officers—all of them former federal and state judges—raised strong reservations about Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close a 50 schools. The hearing officers, in their reports, said CPS failed to follow their own guidelines and violated state law as they selected the schools targeted for closure. CTU general counsel Robert Bloch said, “Under the law, the hearing officers’ ruling is final; there is no appeal. The law prohibits the Chicago Board of Education from closing a school if the closing plan does not comply with its own guidelines.”
CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey called for accountability from the school board. “If you break the law, you shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it, you should be held accountable, and those schools shouldn’t close.”
CPS contended after the hearing officers reports were made public the officers “either misinterpreted the requirements of state law or exceeded the scope of their authority in issuing their findings.” CPS spokeswoman Beck Carroll released a statement saying the union “remains committed to a status quo that is failing too many children trapped in underutilized, under-resourced schools.”
CTU filed two civil rights lawsuits in federal court earlier this month to halt the closings. Chicagoist has included a copy of the lawsuit below.
The hearing officers reports listed in the lawsuit are: Buckingham Special Education Center; Calhoun Elementary School; Mahalia Jackson Elementary School; King Elementary School; Manierre Elementary School; Mayo Elementary School; Morgan Elementary School; Overton Elementary School; Williams Elementary School, and Williams Preparatory Academy Middle School. Jackson and Manierre were among the four schools spared closure by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.