Chicago School Closing Lawsuit: Teachers Union, Parents File Third Suit Against Closures

Chicago Teachers Union Files Third School Closing Lawsuit

The Chicago Teachers Union has filed a third lawsuit against the mass public school closings approved last week by the city's Board of Education.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning on behalf of parents and students at impacted schools, is specifically aimed at halting the closure of 10 elementary schools the Chicago Board of Education moved to close despite the previous finding by Chicago Public Schools' independent hearing officers -- all former judges -- that they did not meet the board's guidelines for shutdown, WBEZ reports.

Those schools identified in the lawsuit -- which claims the planned closures violate state law -- include Buckingham, Calhoun North, Delano, King, Mayo, Morgan, Overton, Stewart, Stockton and Williams.

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement of CPS' actions, "At some point, there has to be some accountability. 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."

In response to the lawsuit, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said in a statement the union was supporting "a status quo that is failing too many children trapped in underutilized, under-resourced schools," according to the Associated Press. CPS officials had previously described the hearing officers' findings as non-binding, CBS Chicago notes.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, according to the Chicago Tribune, unlike the two previous lawsuits filed by the union on the school closings. Those lawsuits claimed the closings targeted African-American students and put students with disabilities at risk compared to their non-disabled peers.

The first of four days of hearings in those lawsuits was set last week for July 16, though CPS and the city of Chicago had planned to file a motion for the suits' dismissal.

The union, meanwhile, has vowed to oust Mayor Rahm Emanuel from office and dismantle his handpicked school board and replace it with an elected one by 2014 as a consequence of the school closings.

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