Tuesday, November 24, 2009


November 24, 2009

Monique LeNoir
Director of Communications
Phone: 202/293‐8620
George Jackson, AFT
Phone: 202/494‐8178


Judge Judith Bartnoff today issued a ruling denying the union’s motion for a preliminary injunction toprohibit the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) from dismissing 266 teachers. The ruling means that DCPS will not be required to reinstate teachers during the ongoing challenge and appeals process.

WASHINGTON—We are disappointed with the court’s decision not to stop the layoffs pending arbitration, and with Judge Bartnoff’s opinion that the chancellor had budgetary justification for the reduction in force (RIF). The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) will consult with legal counsel on the issue of whether the RIF is subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure, and will continue to support our members in the pursuit of their individual cases and appeals via the Office of Employee Appeals.

It is equally important to note what the court did not do. In her decision, Judge Bartnoff said the court could not second‐guess whether a RIF is the appropriate way to address a budget shortfall. Nor did the court comment on the Oct. 29 D.C. Council hearing, where DCPS conceded it knew about the budget issues before July 31.

It is the WTU’s responsibility to advocate for the best learning environments for our children. Operating a school system in a manner that disrupts the lives of students by dismissing 266 teachers six weeks into the school year is simply wrong. We intend to work through the appropriate legal, political and educational channels to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Given the major disruption experienced by the students of DCPS, it is imperative that the WTU, Mayor Fenty, Chancellor Rhee, the city council and all other education stakeholders create aproductive and collaborative relationship that will foster maximum success for our children for the remainder of the school year.

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