CPS job fair draws laid-off teachers

August 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Armed with her resume, a notebook of school pictures and paperwork, Regina Johnson attended a Chicago Public Schools job fair on Tuesday. She's determined to get rehired.

"Part of it is a little discouraging because there were some schools that didn't bother to show up, which was a bit unfair," Johnson said.

The South Side school where Johnson taught was one of dozens of CPS schools that closed for the upcoming year.

"I'm going to get a job, there is no question about that, if there is a job I'm taking it," Johnson said.

Bernardo Piccolo was just as confident. The special education teacher was laid off from CPS.

"I have a couple interviews out of it, I got to talk to some principals, I'm hopeful for myself, not hopeful for teachers," Piccolo said.

Piccolo's not hopeful for teachers because there aren't enough positions available for the number of them who lost their jobs due to closings, budget cuts, and what CPS refers to as a change in academic focus.

Some teachers said they never thought they'd have to go to a job fair. They say ten tenured teachers lost their jobs at a highly rated Lincoln Park High School when it went wall-to-wall with its International Baccalaureate program.

"In this case tenure didn't apply because there was a change of academic focus at Lincoln Park, yet there is no new curriculum, no new training," Sarah Kahn said.

The Lincoln Park teachers say while the school's current rigorous IB program remains intact, the expansion of the program is in name only. The teachers are convinced changing the academic focus was a way to lay off the more expensive tenured teachers.

ABC 7 could not reach the Lincoln Park High School principal for a comment.

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