Keeanga-Yamahtta TaylorMs. Melissa Poeta taught at Scammon and was wrongfully laid off after the 2018-19 school year. The CTU grieved the layoff, ultimately taking the case to arbitration.

After her wrongful layoff from Scammon, Melissa sought and obtained her special education endorsement, at a cost of more than $3,000. She took a position at another school after her layoff, then joined the faculty at Moos Elementary as a special education teacher in 2020.

When CPS finally responded to the grievance appeal in February of 2022, they acknowledged that Melissa had been improperly selected for layoff, but claimed that the grievance was moot because she had been hired at another school prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year, and thus had no lost wages.

That CPS defense is, of course, ridiculous, because the fact that Ms. Poeta was able to find another job after being laid off in violation of the contract has nothing to do with her right to reinstatement to her former job.

Prior to arbitration, CPS offered to reinstate Ms. Poeta back to Scammon, but she decided she would prefer to remain at her current school, Moos. Alternatively, we requested that CPS reimburse Ms. Poeta for costs she incurred obtaining her special education endorsement after her layoff from Scammon. Under the settlement, CPS will issue Ms. Poeta $3,085 for that purpose.

We’re committed to holding CPS accountable for violating our contract and our members’ rights — and we’re delighted for Melissa and appreciate her willingness to share her story. When we fight, we win.