CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION v. BOARD OF EDUCATION (June 13, 2011)

The Chicago Board of Education laid off almost 1300 teachers in the summer of 2010. The Board recalled many of them before the end of that summer, having received additional federal funds. Vacancies continued to open through attrition. The Chicago Teachers Union brought suit against the Board seeking special hiring consideration for the tenured teachers who were laid off and not recalled. Judge Coar (N.D. Ill.) granted an injunction. A divided panel of the Seventh Circuit affirmed (opinion and intheiropionion). The Board petitioned for rehearing.

In their opinion, Circuit Judges Manion and Williams and District Judge Clevert granted the petition, vacated the earlier opinion, and certified three questions to the Illinois Supreme Court. In its earlier opinion, the majority interpreted Illinois law to give tenured teachers a protected a right to continued employment and, thus, an opportunity to be considered for vacancies as they arise. But no Illinois court has addressed the question of whether tenured teachers have any right to be recalled after a good faith economic layoff. On reconsideration, the panel decided to let the Illinois Supreme Court provide guidance on Illinois law. It certified three questions regarding the rights of tenured teachers after a good faith economic layoff.