About half of the UFT staff from Jamaica High, and I'm sure many other closing schools too, were recently placed into excess because of a steep decline in enrollments caused by student transfers, graduation and the lack of a grade nine class in our phasing out schools However, that does not mean excessed teachers have no rights. Absent Teacher Reserves need to know that they have not been abandoned by us, no matter where they might be assigned. Some people I know have already found positions while many others are assigned temporarily as ATRs.
Under the agreement reached last June between the DOE and UFT which the Jamaica Chapter opposed, the DOE can reassign UFT ATRs on a weekly basis within the district. This is horrible treatment of these professionals that is educationally unsound as ATRs being moved around on a weekly basis can never develop any kind of rapport with students. However, this nomad provision does not mean the DOE can assign teachers to duties that would not fall under a teacher's job title. Therefore, it should be a maximum of five classes and a professional assignment and no more each day in secondary schools. ATRs are still entitled to a prep and a duty free lunch. If there are problems, let the UFT know about them. Let this blog know too.
If a teacher or other UFT member is offered a full time position and asked to stay for a year as a provisional teacher, understand that this assignment would only be for the remainder of this school year and that next June if a principal doesn't like that teacher's work, the pedagogue will remain as an ATR. Conversely, if the teacher doesn't like that school, he/she can demand to stay as an ATR. It is a mutual consent doctrine.
The DOE always had the right to permanently assign teachers but they generally don't do that these days as far as I can tell. Last June's agreement does allow for teachers who are filling in for a long term absence or leave to be able to decline to be used in a particular position if it becomes an official vacancy.
The DOE has the right to send ATRs on interviews during the regular school day.
The DOE does not have the right under current conditions to assign anyone out of his/her district/superintendency. For example, a high school ATR in Manhattan should be assigned to a Manhattan High School and not to an elementary school or a middle school (unless it is to a school such as a 6-12 school listed in the high school district). Also, an elementary or middle school ATR excessed from District 28 should not be assigned to a school in District 26.
Finally, anyone in excess should know that according to contract Article 17 B Rule 8 that there is a right of return to the school in which the person is excessed. Feel free to use the sample letter below that all excessed teachers should send.
As per Article 17B Rule 8 of the UFT Contract, I would like to exercise my right of return should a position in my license area, _________________________________________, become available. Please inform me immediately if there is such a vacancy so that I can be placed in it.
Email me with questions or concerns. I know this gets complicated but I hope it helps.