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D.C. Judge Rules Against Reinstating Laid Off Teachers

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By Kavitha Cardoza

A Superior Court judge in D.C. has ruled against the Washington Teacher's Union, which sought to reinstate approximately 250 teachers and staff who were laid off.

In her ruling, Judge Judith Bartnoff says the WTU did not prove its allegations against Chancellor Michelle Rhee. The judge ruled that DCPS did have a budgetary basis to make the layoffs.

Lisa Ruda, Rhee's chief of staff, testified the DCPS budget could support the current teaching staff, as well as the 900 new teachers, before a budget cut at the end of July. Judge Bartnoff writes she found Ruda to be a "credible" witness and the union did not provide any substantive challenge to her testimony.

George Parker is president of the Washington Teacher's Union. "Well understandably we are disappointed in the judge's decision not to reinstate the employees while we go through the challenge and appeals process," said Parker.

The judge writes reinstating the teachers would cause additional disruption to the students because the schools have revised schedules and staffing since the layoffs.

Also, she writes, the district asserts and the union has not disputed that if these teachers were rehired, DCPS would either have to lay off other employees even further into the school year or cut programs. Such action, says the judge, would not benefit DCPS, it's teachers, students, staff or the wider District of Columbia community.

The Union has not decided whether it will appeal the judge's ruling.

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