Approximately 700 ousted teachers were still on city payroll without school placements when the Department of Education paused hiring on Friday, just a month before the first day of school.
An internal Department of Education presentation, leaked to The Post, revealed the hundreds of teachers in “excess,” or let go from their schools largely due to budget cuts, would cost about $90 million per year in average salary and fringe benefits for the teachers not in classrooms.
The figures were made public as principals and superintendents were informed Friday that access to school budgets was frozen indefinitely — putting hires and placements on hold until further notice — related to a legal battle playing out in state courts.
A former elementary school teacher on Staten Island told The Post she has applied to all open positions within her certification in the borough.
“No one’s calling back,” she said. “I don’t understand. I’m rated well, my principal would say very nice things about me if they call.”
“I can’t prepare, but that’s what I spend my summers doing. Not to be able to plan for next year, and they’re just going to throw me into a position possibly, is ridiculous,” she added.
Most of these excessed staffers resulted in June after the DOE cut hundreds of millions of dollars from school budgets, citing enrollment declines and the imminent expiration of federal stimulus funds.
Toward the end of last school year, the DOE had lowered the number of teachers without permanent jobs in the Absent Teacher Reserve, or the “ATR,” to 133 unmoored staffers.
“People are ATRs for different reasons,” said the Staten Island teacher, including those let go for ineffectiveness or misconduct, not enrollment losses. “We’ve gotten ATRs who got fired from their position for a reason. I’m not one of them, but now I’m grouped into that category.”
About one in five teachers still without school placements were new hires last school year. Less than half were on probation at the end of the month.
“A lot of those teachers are brand new teachers,” said Jessica Beck, a former middle school teacher in the West Village, who was excessed but found a new placement. “This is a great way to get brand new teachers to leave the classroom and go into other professions.”
Precise counts are expected to fluctuate through September.
Earlier this summer, Schools Chancellor David Banks predicted that all the ousted teachers would get picked up at other schools by the fall.
Over the last few school years, the DOE has shrunk the costly ATR pool through policies that placed the majority of staff in permanent positions.
Adding to the turmoil, Banks said this week a judicial order that temporarily bars schools from further cuts has disrupted the processing of any new placements. The DOE appeared in court on Friday to argue for lifting the restraining order, but was ultimately denied by New York appellate judge Bahaati Pitt.
An internal memo obtained by The Post showed that Galaxy, a system administrators use to view budgets and pay for staff and school materials, was paused “at this time,” citing the advice of legal counsel.
Emma Vadehra, the Chief Operating Officer at the DOE, acknowledged that the freeze is “extremely inconvenient.”
The city did not immediately tell The Post when the pause would be lifted.
“These delays, and barring everyone from looking at Galaxy, is just being done out of spite,” said Beck. “Ultimately if this decision is about kids, and it’s centering kids and learning, I don’t see how pausing anything helps supporting learning and children.”
Brought up in California. I love the ocean, the outside, and America. I ’m a columnist and essayist who’s enthusiastic with respects to the outside and meeting new individualities. I ’m as of now performing as a pressman for Blanket America. I ’m a journeyer, colonist, and rubberneck.
I love to encounter new societies and meet new individualities. Valorous food squeeze, takes actuality with a touch of swab and a smidgen of rain. Experience is where extension of both psyche and heart factors be. I ’m an individual with a hankering for frozen yogurt, new days and clear path.