A federal judge is expected to approve an agreement this week that would allow the Cambridge School Department to officially adopt an affirmative action hiring program for teachers, officials at the U.S. District Court of Boston said yesterday.
Judge Joseph L. Tauro is expected to accept the plan as the final settlement in a suit brought against the city's school committee by the Cambridge Teachers' Association concerning layoffs and rehiring in the wake of budget cutbacks caused by Proposition 2 1/2.
The teachers' union sought to have the layoffs and rehiring based solely on seniority, but a group of community minority representatives joined the case seeking protection for minority teachers with less seniority.
No objections to the new plan, submitted to Tauro by the litigants last week, were filed as of yesterday, officials said.
The compromise was developed last spring in a series of late-night meetings mediated by Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci. Union members approved it in a May election.
Part of the agreement calls for raising the percentage of minority teachers, currently at around 11 percent, to 25 percent. Under the plan, three out of every four teachers hired must be minorities until the 25-percent mark is reached.
Although the agreement has not been formally approved by Tauro, the school committee has been using it as a guideline for hiring. Two weeks ago, 12 non-minority candidates presented job applications to the committee, and after some discussion, the group hired six and postponed action on the others.
Union officials have questioned the effect of the agreement on non-tenured teachers seeking permanent positions, stating that they should not be treated as applicants with no seniority.