Is She Correct?
We Don't Think So!
By James Eterno, Chapter Leader, Jamaica H.S.; H.S. Rep, U.F.T. Exec. BoardIn her "city schools" column in the February 16, 2006 NY Teacher, UFT President Randi Weingarten stated, "At this point - after decades of trailing behind - we are roughly comparable to the suburbs in both time and salaries." Randi says we've caught up to the suburbs thanks to the last two contracts she negotiated where we traded working extra time for money. Is Randi accurate in saying, "So we have caught up in salaries"? We don't believe she is but we could use your help to confirm.
New York City teachers will have a starting salary as of October of 2006 that will be $42,512 and the top salary after 22 years of teaching will be $93,416. Is that comparable to the suburbs? A quick look at the Contract from Copiague on Long Island shows that for the 2006-07 school year the starting salary will be $46,206 and maximum after fifteen years will be $100,598, $103,848 after 22 years and $109,848 after 26 years.
How many days does a teacher in Copiague have to work in a school year?
With the longer year in our new contract, NYC teachers will more than likely work over 190 days in 2006-07 when the calendar is finalized.
More than 190!!
In Copiague's neighbor Farmingdale where they are working under an expired contract, top salary last year was $104,148 and they also work 183 days. When they obtain a new contract, I'm confident that their salaries will go up and by next year Farmingdale should again be miles ahead of us. Granted, teachers in many surrounding districts need to obtain more credits to get to maximum than we do but they still make more than we do at virtually every level, particularly in the middle years (Copiague-MA+30, 15 years experience salary for 2006-07: $93,101; NYC-MA+30, 15 years experience salary for 2006-07: $79,763)
While we're comparing, Farmingdale teachers are entitled to 14 sick /personal business days per year and in Copiague they get 12.
Thanks to our Unity/UFT leadership's negotiating "skills", we still have a grand total 10 sick/personal days each year and we will almost certainly be working over 190 days next year compared to 183 in many suburbs. So we will be working almost two weeks longer for less money and fewer sick days but we have caught up to the suburbs. Only in Randi's world.
We compared ourselves with Copiague and Farmingdale because these are not wealthy areas. Copiague in particular is a town on Long Island that does not have a huge tax base.
What about other surrounding school districts? If anyone wants to show us the salaries, days of work and sick time for other suburban districts to show that Randi is right or wrong in claiming that we have caught up to the suburbs, please post the information in the comment section or email us at ICE.
Finally, we toil under the most abominable teaching and learning conditions in New York City (highest class sizes, most overcrowded schools, most unsafe and in many cases dilapidated buildings with the worst access to books and other materials) when placed side by side with the suburbs. Randi has done nothing to improve these conditions in the last two contracts. In what surrounding district do they have 34 students in a class like we do in NYC high schools?
None that we know.