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Tentative Accord Reached In Teacher Layoff Suit

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Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci announced yesterday that the Cambridge School Committee and the Cambridge Teachers' Association have reached a tentative agreement which they hope will bring an end to a court suit over the lay-offs of minority and other city teachers.

Three long nights of negotiations last week resulted in a proposal which the two groups plan to offer in court as an alternative to continuing the nine-month-old litigation, Vellucci said. A Federal District Court judge will decide whether to allow the private settlement.

Seniority

Last June the teachers' union filed suit against the school committee because of the use of criteria other than strict seniority, such as race, in school layoffs. "Some of those majority teachers who were laid off had more seniority than minority teachers who were retained," said James J. Healy, McDean Professor of Business Administration and mediator in the negotiations.

A third party, consisting of minority parents, teachers, and administration personnel subsequently entered the suit alleging discrimination against minorities by both the teacher's union and the School Committee.

Minority Underrepresentation

According to Charles Johnson, a lawyer representing the minority teacher's group, "Nothing has been resolved from our standpoint, we have no reason to drop our suit." Johnson said that the percentage of minority teachers now stands at 10.6 percent far from the 20 percent promised in 1980. He added. "It all shows the degree of racism that exists on the part of the school committee and the Teacher's Association."

Not Yet Ratified

The tentative settlement reached last week, which must still be ratified by the full membership of the teachers' union, states that:

* No minorities will be laid off as a result of a reduction in force:

* The city school's affirmative action goal will be raised from the current 20 percent to 25 percent of all teachers;

* All hiring will be on a 50 percent minority basis after current "recall" lists of laid-off teachers are exhausted.

High Legal Fees

Vellucci said he decided to work for a private settlement because of the "wasteful" expenditure by the city of about $144,000 on legal fees before the case even reached the trial stage.

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