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Chicago Board Signs Off on $9.25 Million Settlement for Fired Black Educators, Paraprofessionals

Hundreds of Black teachers and paraprofessionals will benefit from a $9.25 million settlement approved by the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday, Dec. 15.

The board, while not admitting wrongdoing, agreed to give the Chicago Teachers Union the multi-million dollar settlement after being sued by them for the “racially disproportionate” layoffs and terminations of more than 400 workers over a three-year period.

The CTU filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools and Board of Education for laying off or firing African-American teachers and school staffers in “turnaround schools” in predominantly Black communities. After years of litigation, it seems that the union has achieved a breakthrough.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued a statement on the victory, sharing that the settlement was in response to “two race discrimination cases that are pending in federal court.” Those cases are titled Chicago Teachers Union et al. v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Case Nos. 12-cv-10311 and 15-cv-8149).

His remarks continued, “These cases, which date back a decade, were our union’s response to the ‘turnaround’ model of school management and the systemic assault on experienced Black educators, and were one of the first acts taken in my tenure in CTU leadership alongside my sister, President Emerita Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT.”

Sharkey revealed that legally the body is “constrained” on what can be publicly said about the terms as both parties are waiting on a judge to “enter a Preliminary Approval Order approving the settlement in January. However, he did note that “this specific settlement will compensate 413 educators who were displaced by turnarounds in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.”

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