CPS holds job fair for displaced teachers

July 29, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Out of 600 schools, there are at least 70 schools that start in August that have teacher vacancies. While laid off teachers are hopeful, many are not holding their breath for a new job.

Hundreds of Chicago Public School teachers are spending their summer looking for a job. Budget cuts have forced many experienced teachers out the door. Yet, there are dozens of schools that have vacancies and are hiring.

"This is a job fair in which principals are coming to interview veteran displaced teachers who have a wealth of experience and could continue and should continue contributing to Chicago Public Schools," said Rachel Resnick, Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago Public Schools invited 1,800 displaced CPS teachers to look for a job. While the idea is to hire veteran teachers, many who came to the fair say that is not what they are hearing from the principals.

"Most principals do not want to hire veterans who have been in the system for a long time," said Norma Brown, displaced teacher.

Krystal Garrett is looking for a special education job. She carries with her years of experience, a master's degree and she is working on her doctorate. Her education places her in a higher pay scale which she says is a problem.

"I have seven principals tell me I'm too expensive," said Garrett.

Jessica Sipic has several degrees, including two masters. She is also nine months pregnant.

"It's been rough. I've been on nine interviews as a math teacher. I did not think it would be this difficult," said Sipic.

Sipic is one of about 240 coaches that were laid off. Coaches are teachers that were hand picked by CPS to help other teachers become better. While they are allowed at the job fair to interview, the coaches have lost all their benefits and seniority.

"We were under the assumption that once the program ended, we would return to the classroom. ," said Sipic.

By Illinois law, principals have the discretion to hire anyone they want. So, those principals who came to Thursday's fair are not obligated to hire any of the CPS displaced teachers they interviewed. There will be another private CPS job fair at the end of August.

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