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Rights of CTU members in a layoff

CTU members have contractual rights in the event of a layoff—no matter the terminology the Board uses (honorable dismissal, school action, etc.). This short description of those rights is not intended to answer every individual question, but it does provide a basic overview of what happens if you are a CTU member who loses your job because of budget reductions, decline of enrollment, change in academic focus, or school actions such as closing, consolidation or turnaround. For a more detailed description of your rights, see Appendices H & I in the CTU-Board Contract, pages 272-286.

Any individual questions should be directed to your field representative. Use this list to determine who your field representative is. Call the CTU switchboard at 312.329.9100 and ask for your field representative by name.


Who is laid off?

If changes in an attendance center or program require the layoff of some but not all teachers, the order of layoff of teachers within the affected unit and certification shall be by the following performance tiers and/or as follows:

  1. Any teachers rated unsatisfactory;
  2. Any substitute or temporary teachers;
  3. Probationary appointed teachers by performance tier (emerging: 210-250 score, developing: 251-284 score, proficient: 285-339 score, and excellent: 340-400 score);
  4. Tenured teachers rated satisfactory or, after the first evaluation in the new evaluation system issues, first tenured teachers rated emerging (210-250 score) and then tenured teachers rated developing (251-284 score);
  5. All other tenured teachers.

Do I get notice?

By contract, CPS is required to give a 21-day notice of layoff.

What benefits are connected to layoff?

It depends on why you were laid off (see chart below)

Reason for layoff (choose below)Transfer to receiving school?Eligibility for rehire? i.e.  Teacher Quality Pool?Benefits upon layoff?What happens to my Seniority, tenure and grandfathered sick days?
School Actions: closing, consolidation Yes, if tenured with top two ratings; if position is available, transfer is based on certification and seniority Automatic for top two ratings; all others may apply with two administrator recommendations and an interview. If tenured and not rated “Unsatisfactory,” 10 months in Reassigned Teacher Pool. Reassigned Teacher Pool provides full pay and benefits. Teachers are assigned to substitute while looking for a permanent position.

If a tenured teacher is reappointed to a permanent position within two years of layoff then tenure, prior seniority, and sick days are restored.

If a tenured teacher acquires a position after that, they will retrieve their steps and lanes but not sick days or tenure status.

Turn-around No.
Phase out No.
Economic Actions N/A
Reductions due to falling enrollment. 20th day reduction. N/A Recall to school in the event of additional hiring (by certification) if tenured teacher has top two ratings.
Other Actions—i.e. change of academic program N/A

Probationary Teachers who are laid off and are rated in the top two categories will be assigned to day-to-day substitute teacher status.

At least half of all new hiring in the district must be from laid-off and displaced veteran teachers. Principals must interview at least three displaced teachers for all vacancies.

A tenured teacher who has been laid off due to school actions shall be offered the opportunity to resign and receive three months of pay.


Appendix I, Section E guarantees all laid-off PSRPs rated “developing” or better a right to placement in vacant PSRP positions for which they are qualified that exist on the 20th day of the school year.

PSRPs who are assigned to schools that are subject to closings, consolidations, or phase-out at the end of a school year and who are not reappointed prior to the first day of the work year for the following school year shall be eligible for a severance package equal to a $1,000.00 one-time payment and nine months of Board-paid insurance premiums for health care contributions coverage.

What to Do If You Are Laid Off

First, Protect Your Rights

  1. Collect and keep all of the documents you receive from the Board. Make sure you check your CPS e-mail regularly and print important communications to preserve a paper copy—this is important in the event you lose access to CPS e-mail.
  2. If you believe that you were laid off in error—for example, if your were laid off out of seniority order—please call and notify your Union in writing as soon as possible. For a list of field representatives by schools click here.

You will be asked to:

  1. Complete a Grievance Authorization Form.
  2. Create a chronological narrative of what happened regarding this layoff and any unusual circumstances regarding this displacement.
  3. Fax the grievance authorization to 312-329-6203.

Second, Apply for Unemployment Benefits:

  • Illinois law prohibits teachers from collecting unemployment over summer break so your eligibility will begin on the first day you would have work.
  • If you are working as a day-to-day substitute, your eligibility will vary from week to week depending on how much you earned in that period from CPS. You might have weeks of full unemployment benefits, weeks of partial benefits and, if you earned more, no benefits. Your unemployment benefits will be reduced if your earnings are greater than half your benefit amount.
  • At this point, benefits are payable for a 26 week period although there is the possibility of another Federal extension which might apply to you. It is generally easiest to apply for unemployment online.
  • To begin your online application or to download helpful pamphlets and information, go to, call their Claimant Services Center at 800-244-5631 or use Teleserve at 312-338-IDES (-4337). You can also visit your local IDES office.
  • If you apply in person make sure to bring a photo ID, your social security card, a recent check stub and your termination letter from CPS.

Third, Secure Medical Insurance:

  • If your spouse has insurance from his or her job you would be eligible to enroll in it, if it is part of their plan. When you lose your insurance it is called a life event change and you should be allowed to enroll even though it is not open enrollment. You must apply for this within 30 days from the date of the cancellation of your insurance.
  • If you choose COBRA you have 60 days to enroll. When you sign up for Cobra they will retroactive your coverage and fees to the first day you were released from your insurance. COBRA will be available to you and your family for a total of 18 months. It is an expensive policy. The estimated fees for family coverage are in the range of about $1,200 a month. In any event you do not apply for COBRA after the 60 days you will not be able for COBRA.
  • Medicaid and Illinois Kids First are insurance programs available to some families. Eligibility is determined by family income.

Teacher Quality Pool Information

Note: Appendix H of the Contract refers to the TQP as the Teacher Eligibility List.

Click here for the CPS Frequently Asked Question list about the TQP.

Click here for the application and information on the TQP

Chicago Teachers Union