Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Jamaica High School phased out in June but it doesn't stop the news media from attributing an intruder incident that happened in the building on December 18 to Jamaica High School.

According to multiple sources, two students who had left the building located at 167-01 Gothic Drive, now housing four schools, earlier in the day and snuck back in wearing ski masks.  They had to have kept a door open to get back in and were mistaken for intruders.  One of the principals in the building, or maybe all four, put the building on a lockdown where nobody gets in or out until someone recognized that these were students, not intruders, and caught them.

When the lockdown occurred, word reached the press but the media didn't ever bother to find out what particular school the pupils came from.  For the benefit of accuracy, the building at 167-01 Gothic Drive now houses Queens Collegiate, Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences, the Hillside Arts and Letters Academy and the High School for Community Leadership but not Jamaica High School. That is four small schools. One report stated the lockdown was at Jamaica High School then erroneously reported there are five small schools in the building without naming them. 

We are all grateful that this was not a serious incident but where are the calls now for the schools to be closed because they are unsafe and intruders can easily sneak in?

Why did the press report that this occurred at Jamaica High School when Jamaica High School no longer exists?

Friday, December 26, 2014


The Independent Budget Office is out with a new report on the city's finances.  The budget picture looks positive for the city for as far as the eye can see. The report has this title:

A Bright Budget Picture:
Jobs Increasing, Tax Revenues
Rising, Budget Gaps Shrinking

The IBO statistics make UFT President Michael Mulgrew's claim in May that the cupboard was bare as he accepted a subpar city union pattern setting contract of 10% over 7 years seem laughable.

There is a consensus among even the most stingy numbers crunchers that the city will be swimming in black ink for the next few years unless some outside event causes a downturn.  In fact, the IBO budget watchdogs say the only problem could be the strength of the budget.

Here is a key conclusion of the IBO report on page 22:

But it is the city's relatively strong fiscal outlook that could itself prove to be the financial plan's greatest risk.  The plan contains general reserves of $750 million a year and $1.8 billion remains in the Retiree Health Benefits Trust.  With the city facing only a modest budget shortfall next year and surpluses in the following years under IBO's projections, it may be difficult to contain the impulse to expand current services and implement new, ongoing programs or cut taxes.  Balancing these aspirations within the limits of the city's resources is the key to keeping the budget out of the red and in the black.

I still hear extreme right wingers claiming Mayor Bill de Blasio is giving the store away to the city unions but the facts say otherwise. Union sacrifices brightened the city's budget picture considerably.  Last year's December IBO Report said the UFT settlement was a big danger for the city's financial future.  They aren't saying that any longer.

Here is what the IBO was forecasting in their December 2013 report concerning expired municipal labor contracts on page 22:

Foremost among the reasons for caution are the expectations built into the budget plan with regard to a settlement of expired contracts with the city’s municipal unions. A costless settlement covering the years of expired contracts prior to 2014 may be more doable on paper than in practice. Depending on the terms of the settlements, the projected surplus could quickly evaporate. In May, IBO estimated that under one plausible scenario the cost of settlements with the unions could be $6.3 billion through 2014. In this scenario, the teacher and principal unions would get the same 4 percent raises other unions received in 2008-2010 and all the municipal unions would get 2 percent wage increases from the point their contracts expired in the years 2010-2013.

Two increases of 4% for us for the years former Mayor Bloomberg refused to give the UFT the city pattern that most other city unions received around six years ago and then 2% a year for the following years is what the IBO projected as plausible. Needless to say, this scenario didn't happen.  We didn't even come close. Those two 4% arrears payments for us will be spread out through 2020 and that 8% total won't be fully added to our pay until 2018.  Right now UFT members are earning a whopping 2% more than we made back in 2008.

The city will more than likely continue to cry poverty when dealing with the unsettled contracts for the Policeman's Benevolent Association, Uniformed Firefighters Association and other uniformed unions.  Pattern bargaining means uniformed workers will more than likely have to settle for the 11% increase over 6 years, 7 months that their supervisors agreed to recently. The PBA's best hope is to say the city has the ability to pay much more but precedent means they will probably get what their bosses received when arbitrators decide on their contract. 

Whether they win or lose, they will beat the UFT's pattern and we still haven't even talked about the healthcare savings we will be subjected to in the future.

In this season of giving, I would like to remind readers how the UFT gave to NYC by accepting our inferior contract. Agreeing to make it a lengthy nine year deal that won't end until 2018 (the two years of back pay are included here in addition to the seven pattern setting years) doesn't look like a smart move by our union either. Our contract will end and the city will almost certainly be claiming the cupboard is bare again.

If the opposition could ever win a UFT election and come to power, I think it would be very prudent to employ a smart economist/accountant who might be able to demonstrate that the city's financial outlook is a little brighter than the city says it is. 

Happy Holidays everyone! We can all feel good about how we helped out our great city!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


The only good to come out of this year's NYSUT power grab by Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta and the UFT was the formation of a statewide opposition to Unity Caucus called Stronger Together.  Stronger Together understands how the Unity leadership of the UFT in New York City has a stranglehold over NYSUT and the AFT.

Stronger Together formed to run in the NYSUT election but they have stayed together after the election.  ST made a very respectable showing in that NYSUT election. The candidate for Secretary Treasurer, Lee Cutler, received 46% of the vote against a candidate backed by UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

It is a positive development to see ST Caucus put up a website and maintain a presence on social media.  Now the group has written a letter to State Education Chancellor Merryl Tisch questioning the governor's anti public schools education agenda.

Great to see the UFT's own Lauren Cohen is one of the people who signed this letter. Stronger Together gives us some real hope for the future of NYSUT, the AFT and yes even the UFT.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


The UFT Executive Board passed a resolution last night expressing condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the two New York City police officers who were assassinated this past weekend (see email from President Mulgrew below). I can't imagine anyone in their right mind not condemning Saturday's cold blooded murders. This blog supports Mulgrew's email.

Mulgrew chose his words quite carefully in keeping in the spirit of these sad last few days for the city.  However, two other labor leaders--Patrick Lynch, President of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and Ed Mullins--head of the Sergeant's Benevolent Association--have been anything but careful in their rhetoric the last several months and that continued Saturday in the aftermath of the tragedy.

It is quite reasonable to ask why these two union heads in particular are at war with Mayor Bill de Blasio.  Has the mayor really thrown cops under the bus as Lynch claimed?

From CBS NY, here is the part from the mayor that prompted one of the PBA head's major explosions:

The mayor said he and his wife, Chirlane, have had to have painful conversations with their teenage son, Dante, about "how to take special care with any encounter he may have with police officers."

"I've had to worry over the years, Chirlane has had to worry: Is Dante Safe each night?" De Blasio said Wednesday (December 3).  "And not just from some of the painful realities of crime and violence of our neighborhoods but safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors."

This statement was made after a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict a cop for the killing of Eric Garner this past summer, even though the coroner ruled the death a homicide. The mayor attempted to walk a tightrope on the issue.  For the past few weeks, he has been encouraging people opposed to the grand jury decision in the Garner case to stay peaceful as they protest while not trying to further inflame the police union leaders.

Normally, the fiery rhetoric from the union heads would have eventually calmed down but Mullins and Lynch have been relentless in their non-stop attacks on the mayor.  Their criticism was especially harsh on Saturday when Lynch claimed the mayor and others had blood on their hands after the cold blooded murders of officers Liu and Ramos.  Many people have seen the video of the police turning their backs on de Blasio at the hospital. There is even a petition calling for de Blasio to resign. In response, the normally pro-police Daily News editorial page opined how Lynch and Mullins went too far in blaming the mayor for Saturday's killings.

It is interesting to note how we are not hearing much criticism of City Hall from the Lieutenants' Benevolent Association or the Captain's Endowment Association leaders.  There has been no call for de Blasio to resign or talk of blood on the mayor's hands from these police unions.  Could it be because higher ranking officers already have a new labor contract with the city while the PBA and SBA remain somewhat isolated without one?

The Daily News was on top of this story last week as the PBA leader looked like he was encouraging a work to rule slowdown.  Here are Lynch's words:

“If we won’t get support when we do our jobs, if we’re going to get hurt for doing what’s right, then we’re going to do it the way they want it,” (Lynch) said.

 “He is not running the city of New York. He thinks he’s running a f---ing revolution,” Lynch said of the mayor.

The PBA denied they were calling for a work rule slowdown but a source confirmed that this is exactly what police officers are being encouraged to do and I heard a similar story on the radio yesterday afternoon.

This is a trade union blog that is usually strong in its support of unions.  In this situation, however, I have real doubts if the PBA can win a contract with a much bigger salary increase than their supervisors got because of the dreadful pattern the UFT set last spring for this round of collective bargaining for city employees. The pattern is 10% total over 7 years.  Other city public employee unions are now stuck with this pattern for themselves based on many decades of precedent.

At the time of the UFT settlement, SBA President Mullins stated that Mulgrew was out of his mind for accepting such a meager increase.  Recently, eleven uniform supervisory unions, including the police, marginally beat the UFT pattern by getting 11%  over 6 years and 7 months.  

A raise in this ballpark will leave NYPD officer pay rates below what Nassau, Suffolk and Port Authority police earn.  Yes, the city has a surplus, but I still don't see how it will be easy for the PBA to smash pattern bargaining, even with a job action and an in your face political strategy against the mayor. 

When the dust settles after binding arbitration, there are likely to be many bitter PBA and SBA members who believe they deserve a huge raise that they are being denied.  They will then probably take their anger out on the mayor in the 2017 election.  Eva Moskowitz (or someone similar) can form a robust alliance of charter school hedge funders with their deep pockets and cops.

This will almost certainly have the effect of pulling the UFT closer to the mayor which in turn means the de Blasio-Farina way of running the schools that I call "Bloomberg lite" will continue for the foreseeable future. Anyone who expects the UFT to be anything more than co-managers of the school system stands to be disappointed.

If public education survives the Cuomo onslaught that is coming in 2015 (We still have Shelly Silver and the Assembly Democrats so we have a fighting chance.), we may then have an even bigger political battle ahead of us in 2017.  I am not overly optimistic we can win without a serious mobilization.

As for the PBA and SBA, the angry talk may be put on hold as the city mourns the loss of two officers but expect the rift with City Hall to continue. 

Dear James,

I know that you join me in mourning the tragic deaths of police officers Wenjan Liu and Rafael Ramos over the weekend.

The senseless violence that took their lives has thrown a pall over our city and our school communities.

In addition to the two officers’ service on the police force, Officer Ramos previously served as a school safety agent at the Rocco Laurie School on Staten Island where he was adored by students and the entire school community.

In classrooms today around the city, so many of you were faced with students struggling to make sense of this senseless act.

This is part of what we do as UFT members, educators and community leaders — we help our students and fellow community members deal with horrible tragedy.

Tonight, the UFT Executive Board passed a resolution offering our deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Officers Liu and Ramos.

Our resolution also pledges that our union will continue as always to work for peace in our communities and respect for all.

At this difficult time, I want to thank you for all that you do for our students and our city.


Michael Mulgrew

Friday, December 19, 2014


From Perdido Street School via Capital Confidential, we learn that Cuomo's offensive against us has been launched and it is a nightmare.

 Here are some of the areas Cuomo suggests could see so-called reform or push in the next legislative season:

1. The evaluation system
2. The 3020a disciplinary process
3. The ATR pool in NYC
4. Teacher certification
5. Probationary period for teachers
6. Making it easy to close schools
7. Increase in charter schools, especially in NYC
8. Adding more technology to the system, including online classes
9. Consolidating districts
10. Reforming the Regents appointment process
11. Making the hiring of NYSED Commissioner King's replacement transparent

Sounds like a Bloombergian dystopia.

All I can say is thank heavens for Shelly Silver and the State Assembly Democrats but even they may not be able to stop this onslaught. Anyone who believes we are safe could be in for a rude awakening.

Perdido wrote an open letter to AFT President Randi Weingarten calling for action.  You think she'll answer?

Thursday, December 18, 2014


You knew it was going to happen that if too many teachers were rated effective or highly effective in the new evaluation system that our enemies would look to make the system harsher.  It is no surprise that there is talk from Albany about changing the teacher evaluation law as Perdido Street School has been reporting. (His reporting has been great.)

It looks like the Governor and State Education Department are going to want some kind of quota of at least 5% of teachers being rated ineffective when they move to amend the teacher evaluation law next year.

During UFT President Michael Mulgrew's President's Report at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly, he gave away what will probably be the UFT/NYSUT legislative strategy for the year ahead. We will argue that the teacher evaluation system is fine the way it is in NYC.  The rest of the state may be flawed but ours is first rate. The UFT will advocate for the status quo.

It is the usual failed negotiating strategy of asking for nothing while our enemies seek major concessions and then settling for new givebacks that are not quite as bad as the ones originally proposed.  Instead, the union should be asking to scrap the whole system based on junk science to move the center of gravity in our direction.  You can be pretty sure we won't make such a move. 


I had family commitments that kept me away from the visitor's section at the December Delegate Assembly but the very capable Megan Moskop from MORE took notes.  We thank her for doing this.  It is not an easy job as UFT President Michael Mulgrew often jumps all over the place as he gives his lengthy report.

President’s Report

US will start to normalize relations with Cuba.

Cuomo will ban fracking.

Nationally- not much going on. Senate- no shutdown of government. Republicans have figured out that it isn’t a good play. AFT is closely examining legislation.

Justice for all March in DC- UFT sent 10 buses. ½ were members, ½ were NAACP and community members. As far as these issues go, we have to be able to voice our opinions in a respectful way. We have different opinions and we need to show people on the outside that what happened in Ferguson is not what we want to happen in NYC. We need to have a place to have a respectful conversation.  The NY Post- you can’t say they’re wrong on everything and right on this.  We have to be respectful and peaceful. We have and will work with NYPD; we work inside communities. For that to work, it has to be respectful in both ways. At the school level, we do great work with NYPD, why is that never in the paper? The issue here is for us to move forward and discuss issues that are uncomfortable in a respectful way. We need to do that.  

I (Mulgrew) met a group from Ferguson in DC- it was painful, those young adults had so much anger and felt that more needed to be done and it shouldn’t just be peaceful. Everything that we tried to make sure did not happen, it was clear to me that we made the right decision.  A young person said, “I’m a peaceful demonstrator and I've been shot with rubber bullets 28 times.” In NYC the police are being respectful of the demonstrators. There will be generations of what we’ve lived through- mistrust. We’ve handled it better than ever before.

Our job as a union is to help people through difficult times. The day after the Garner Decision, we had conversations in classrooms to help our students with their anger. Yes, people want change, and as people who care for children, we have to rise above, keeping things respectful. Overall, our focus has to be on moving forward respectfully.

Rallies will continue; this has caused an important conversation. Respectful conversation to make our communities a better place.

UFT Members (Which ones? I wonder.) have been having meetings with state legislative reps from NYC.  All the reps have been visited by the charter school industry already. Mulgrew met with newly elected assembly people here yesterday.

Teacher Evaluation- In the news today. Results are “odd” in the rest of the state. John King thinks NYC’s system is more reliable than elsewhere.

Growth scores are complicated things, but we have folks who get it. “They told me this was the right thing to do.” We’re trying to figure out a way to simplify it, but this seems to work. Our system is complicated, but it works. We’ve never had this low a number of ineffective teachers. Across the state, the numbers are higher.  The Governor announced today that he wants to re-open the law and make eval more rigorous. We’re going to have to push the facts through on this one. Eval should be about helping people improve. 7% of teachers are developing in NYC. That means we have close to 6,000 on improvement plans. (Eterno's note: Is that something to brag about?) That’s new.  And highly effective, we now have a career ladder. We have to work on how to develop that more.  Our system is working.Check and balance in the law. We submitted plans across the state, SED could have said no to make us change it. John King approved ALL the plans.

Now we’ll have another fight over eval since the law is being re-opened. This is why we met with the assembly-members. We’re also working on mayoral control, and the charter cap.

Now, Legislature will push for a quota system (i.e. 10% of teachers are ineffective no matter what.) This goes against what we’re doing in NYC, because it makes us all competing against each other- which is not what we want. This will be one of our big fights.

(Megan's Note:Then why do we have a career ladder that is “competitive” for pay? I wonder.)

The governor is basically saying that the unions hoodwinked everyone with teacher eval. Small school districts were told to develop their own growth formulas, and many didn't have capacity to do it well.
Why do people think that if only 40% of the kids pass the test, only 40% of teachers are effective?  That doesn’t make sense, and we need to be talking about it, especially those of us who teach hard-to-serve populations (newcomer ELLs, etc).  Using student achievement for eval isn’t something we like, but student achievement is part of our responsibility. With multiple measures, it can be okay. We took a difficult situation, and we did the right thing.

Tenure lawsuit- We filed for dismissal. They submitted their answer, and we replied. Now we are waiting to see. What just happened around teacher eval will be part of the media campaign.

Renewal Schools- We had a meeting, and the PROSE team is also working with the renewal schools. The need index formula that Bloomberg created shows that the renewal schools are almost directly the 94 neediest schools in the city. We’ve asked those schools to come up with a plan (we want to be pro-active, and have already helped them advocate for things.) Huge change in policy under this mayor- not closing, giving money, schools can change schedules, teachers can work a longer day if they want.

District 75, 79- same sort of approach there. We want to create a plan. Chancellor is announcing a new structure for the system soon. Usually these districts are left out, but now we want to take 75 and 79 and get them out front- have asked them to “come up with a plan” for needed supports. Most are numerous programs inside of schools. These are our most challenging students, and they need the most support.

Press conference last week around class size. Group of lawyers/parents won court case “campaign for fiscal equity” ---NYC would get $$ from the state that was owed. Then the economy collapsed. Now, its booming, but we still haven’t gotten the court settlement that mentions reducing class size.  Now we are advocating for K-3 classes no bigger than 15. Funding would come from taxing luxury condos with out-of-state owners (who don’t live in the city and pay taxes).  The Daily News and NY Post have attacked the union on this, citing invalid studies that say “class size doesn’t matter, poverty has nothing to do with educational outcomes.”

We need to be focused on “research” and “facts” from people who study education, and we need to be sharing those with lawmakers so they are not just hearing from Gates-funded foundations and corporate CEOs.

We have voice, we have a contract, let’s use it! Schools need to have active PD and consultation committees. Plan to implement contract is moving. By the end of this school year, there will be improvement in all sorts of things.

Happy Holidays.

Staff Report- Leroy Barr
This past week:
-Big Apple Classic leadership summit. College Fair at Barclays Center.
-Coalition for Homeless Holiday Celebration
-Tomorrow: Kwanzaa celebration at 4:30. All are invited.
-Next DA: January 14th.

Mulgrew puts on a singing hat and announces that he wants to make a segment of the DA about contract implementation- we’ll hear from PROSE people 1st.

Question- Lots of teachers have complained about admin e-mailing them outside of work time and mandating responses. Can admin do that?
Mulgrew Answer: No. We’re going to have to start grappling more with electronic communication. The best way for us to do this is to share what people are doing well and what is working. Some teachers set this up really well during the first weeks of school. Some people are using tech to make their lives easier and if we don't want to deal with that we’re being foolish.

Question: Farina has spoken about more funding, extending workday for middle schools. How will that be implemented?
Answer: I think I covered this in my report. If you want to extend learning time, you can change schedules or come up with a program that teachers buy into and are compensated for. A school decision. Maybe we should come up with some models for changing the schedules to extend learning time and change programming positively.

Question: Can the DOE and UFT work together to re-open teacher cafeterias?
Answer: Who wants that? DC37 has to man it. Teachers didn’t eat the food in those cafeterias and that’s what closed a lot of them.  What about the “fun” lunchroom program? Maybe we should have that for teachers.

Question: Thank you for the fabulous hat. Main office should have a UFT member payroll secretary and pupil personnel secretary, right? Is there a way for principals to circumvent that?
Answer: This has been a huge problem, we did an arbitration and we won. DOE lost that arbitration and set it up so that no one could become a licensed secretary. This happened to other civil service agencies too. So since they didn’t give the exam they outsourced the work. Contact Laura Tamboro. There is a new process for hiring secretaries. We’ll send it out in the CL alert.

Question- Principal is sending people for psych evals, other CL was shipped out, now that he is filing grievances, he is getting rated ineffective. Numbers are low for developing and ineffectives, but in his struggling school, this is not the case.
Answer: Talk to Leroy. We will do something about this.

Question- We need a reading specialist.
Answer: Okay. We’re talking about that.

Question: Group of us want to stop contraction and elimination of low-level students from that program. We would like to be in on the project for 75 and 79.
Answer: Great. We want to get more people involved in that.

Question: What are we actually doing to fight for class size, etc on a larger scale for all the issues that we’re facing?
Answer: That’s why we’re meeting with the assembly. We want to target what we’re fighting for. We’ve given people talking points, we’ll push that out before the “state of the state.” We have a “for” and “against” agenda.

**Megan's question (which she didn’t get called on to ask): How have members been involved in the creation of that political agenda? What is it exactly and where can we read it? How can we get involved in shaping it or sharing it?  Will the UFT be organizing members to go to charter school hearings and Moskowitz’s press conference?  I’ve signed up online for the political action committee, and have heard nothing.**

Retiree Back Pay
Mulgrew said he forgot to report on the arbitration about retiree back-pay. That is progressing, and retirees who retired at the end of last year should expect to see $ in February.

Resolution #1 In Response to the Grand Jury Decision in the Case of the Death of Eric Garner
(rally last week in DC, ongoing work here.)


Amended- by Sebastian Natera- to add “public school parent”  and “systemic racism and police brutality.”

Abe Levine- we can’t use the word racist, because it has been used by our opponents against us, and that could happen again. This wasn’t about race.

Leroy Barr- supports amendment regarding use of the word parent.  Speaks against second amendment. “I represent every member of this union,”  and we don’t want this to become a splitter issue- regardless of how we may feel individually. Where can, we find common ground to move forward- everyone needs to agree that something is not right, and something must change. People want their grievances heard, and they want them addressed. We should stay away from language that would split this union. The goal is to come through this together because we have other issues we must deal with. We have other issues that will be just as big as this.

Someone called the question (made a motion to end the debate which carried).  

Amendment 1=passed

Amendment 2= did not pass.  There were a few votes in support, and many more votes against the amendment. There also appeared to be many abstentions. These were not called for.  

Attempted point of order that was ignored. (Those who raised it were called out of order, and told that points of order are not allowed to be raised during the vote.)

Resolution Carried.

Resolution #2 In Support of More Accurate Cola Adjustments to Social Security
Joan Heymont spoke in favor while expressing dismay that there are so many senior citizens living in poverty.  She shared her recollection of going to a pension meeting when she first began teaching and hearing that it was her job to put money aside.  She believes all of us should be taken care of in our old age and shared the anecdote that her brother was unable to get Medicaid in Maryland because their cut-off is only $11,000. She stated that this issue is one of the reasons why she is a communist.

The motion carried.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The numbers are out for the first year where New York City teachers were rated under the new teacher evaluation system and they show that New York State teachers outside of New York City fared better than teachers in the city in 2013-14.  Outside of NYC, 58.2% of the teachers received highly effective ratings while only 9.2% in the city were given a highly effective grade.  Outside of NYC, 97.5% of teachers were rated highly effective or effective.  The numbers in NYC were lower. 

Nevertheless, UFT President Michael Mulgrew is claiming victory (see below) as only 8.2% of city teachers were rated ineffective or developing in 2013-14.  However, outside of the city only 2.4% received negative ratings. 1.2% of city teachers received a rating of ineffective while only .7% statewide were rated ineffective and only .4% outside of NYC got the lowest score.

Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch was not happy with the results.  Here is a quote taken from Syracuse.com:

"The ratings show there's much more work to do to strengthen the evaluation system," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said in a news release. "There's a real contrast between how our students are performing and how their teachers and principals are evaluated." 

I think Mulgrew's victory dance may be just a little premature as how does he explain that New York City teachers were three times as likely to be rated ineffective as teachers in the rest of the state? I still believe the evaluation system will be used to eventually fail more than 1.2% of city teachers.  In addition, the extra observations are producing needless anxiety among teachers.

The 1.2% rated ineffective are now in year two status and if they don't get at least developing this year, the burden of proof will shift to the teachers in termination hearings. To put it another way, they will be basically defenseless. The number of teachers terminated for incompetence may rise significantly soon.  However, I hope Mulgrew is right that "we have a strong foundation for an evaluation system which...can help teachers improve throughout their careers."

The vast majority of teachers I talk to think the new system is a huge bureaucratic pain in the neck that will not improve their teaching practice.

One more interesting point: According to the report, "NYC: 62,184 Teachers Reported."  That means over 10,000 teachers were not rated in the new system.  Are there that many teachers who teach one or no classes, are assigned to district offices or are ATRs?

Mulgrew's letter is printed in its entirety.

Dear James,

In 2010, when the new teacher evaluation system was created by state law, we said that we would never agree to a “gotcha” or a gaming system. The first-year results are now in: that did not happen.

In New York City, according to state Education Department data for the 2013-14 school year, 9.2 percent of teachers were rated highly effective, 82.5 percent were rated effective, 7.0 percent were rated developing and 1.2 percent were rated ineffective. These results show that the previous mayor did not get his way. We now have a strong foundation for an evaluation system which — if we properly implement it and if we use the new voice we gained in our contract — can help teachers improve throughout their careers.

I’m proud of the work that our teachers have done. Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and teaching in a large, urban system like New York City is especially hard. Our teachers deserve an evaluation system that is fair, helps them identify their relative strengths and weaknesses, provides targeted support for teachers who are struggling, and gives opportunities for those who are at the top of their game to share their expertise with their colleagues.

Thank you for taking on one of the toughest — but also one of the most rewarding — jobs. Happy holidays!

Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew

Saturday, December 13, 2014


At last month's PEP meeting, where I spoke to the Panel and Chancellor Carmen Farina, a reporter from the Epoch Times approached me.  He talked to Francesco Portelos and me after the meeting. 

I have attached his story which was recently in Epoch Times.  The tone of the overall piece is fine and I can't complain about how I am portrayed.  The only line attributed to me that is inaccurate is where the reporter paraphrases me talking about the dozens who were excessed from Jamaica and then writing that only one found a permanent job.  I was talking about the final eight who were left in the last year. Of the final eight teachers at Jamaica, one has found a permanent position, while three retired, three are now in leave replacement jobs and one is rotating.

There was some criticism of ATRs in the Epoch Times article. We didn't get a chance to respond so I will do that here.

In defense of my fellow ATRs, rotating to different schools and covering classes can be very depressing.  I can definitely understand why a teacher who may be a star feels the need to change his/her mindset to survive as an ATR.  Getting attached to kids and a school might not necessarily lead to an ATR obtaining a position and if someone is in a good school, it is quite disheartening when one has to move on after a few weeks. It is very easy to become jaded and to say to oneself, "Let me just do the minimum necessary to survive in this system where I am thought of as an inferior teacher by my employer; I'll save the bulk of my energy for other parts of my life." 

In reality, finding a regular job is often a matter of just being at the right place at the right time when there is an opening.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Eleven supervisor unions for uniform services in New York City have agreed to a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio for contracts that exceed the pattern set by the UFT for this round of bargaining. 

Here are some details from Capital New York:

The 11,900 supervisors will be paid 11 percent, compounded, over six years and seven months. The first raise will take effect in the final month of the contract's first year. By comparison, the United Federation of Teachers and other unions that have already settled got 10 percent, compounded, over seven years.

The deal announced tonight covers all uniform supervisors other than the Sergeants Benevolent Association...

During a press conference this evening with labor leaders and members of his senior staff, de Blasio said the uniform supervisors are getting paid more than other municipal employees, such as teachers, because their jobs are more dangerous.

We don't begrudge them the money but we still don't understand why the UFT didn't wait for the uniforms to establish a pattern which would have more than likely been better than the dismal pattern  the UFT set in May or the one just agreed to by the supervisors. Maybe we should have gone to the back of the line and let someone else go first.

In addition, I don't see anywhere where unions such as the police Captains, Detectives and Lieutenants will have to be absent reserves; nor can I find anything about any of these unions having to wait until 2020 to receive their retroactive raises. Finally, there is no zero % year in this deal as the first increase is paid toward the end of the first year.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


NYC Educator has put up two excellent posts in the last few days as he usually does.  One is on class size where he tells the world how class size grievances are basically useless.  The 34 maximum for students in a class in the high schools is more like a suggestion.

The second piece is on Absent Teacher Reserves.  NYC Educator describes how ATRs  have for the most part been abandoned by our union in addition to our employer.  I have a not so novel idea for Chancellor Carmen Farina on how she can deal with both problems:


It is easy and could be done at virtually no cost to the city.  Let's say there is a high school with 55 oversize classes.  Send 11 ATRS to that school and give them five classes each and presto there are no more oversize classes.

I know; I know you are going to tell me that there isn't enough space in some of these buildings to make new classes.  The solution here is not that complex either as the DOE would just need to use the ATRS as push in teachers.  We could team teach.  Interviews could be conducted with actual teachers to make sure these are good matches.

Just some simple ideas that might work educationally so they will probably never happen.

Monday, December 08, 2014


For those of you who are following my travelogue around the high schools of Queens, I have some news. I am being taken off the Absent Teacher Reserve Rotation train wreck by Middle College High School for the rest of the 2014-15 school year.

Middle College was one of the schools I wandered through this fall.  Apparently, I did something right there as they called me in for an interview for a Leave Replacement Teacher position.  I don't know how to say thank you enough to Principal Linda Siegmund and her faculty for rescuing me from ATR rotations to let me actually teach again. The new trimester starts today.  Middle College is a very progressive school that I am looking forward to working in.

It is nice not to have to wonder from day-to-day and week-to-week what classes I will be given and what schools I will be sent to in the Michael Mulgrew, Carmen Farina traveling circus known as the ATR Rotation.

As excited as I am to have a fresh start somewhere, make no mistake about it I am still an ATR.  This position is temporary so in September chances are I will be right back pounding the pavement looking for a job and quite possibly in rotation again. Decades of experience means next to nothing.

Is this any way to treat close to 2,000 professionals who are in rotation or in temporary assignments?  We have spent the last 5-10-20-30 years or more dedicating our professional lives to the students of New York City. Our reward is to be bounced around like a tennis ball and denied a chance to vote for our own union representatives at the school level.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


The Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA is the union for principals and assistant principals) has settled their contract.  They basically accepted the same terms as the UFT.  This is what the city's press release says:

"The proposed nine-year, one-month, 15-day contract with CSA would begin, retroactively, on March 6, 2010 and expire on April 20, 2019 and include an average of 2 percent per year in raises over the life of the contract."

In addition, CSA members will get back pay for the two annual 4% raises from the last round of collective bargaining that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg denied to them.  Those payments will be stretched out through 2021. Those who go from UFT to administrator will get the back pay. That was supposedly a sticking point.

Here is my favorite part of the press release:

"Even after the City’s budget factored in the pattern settlement for the first time since the contracts were left open in 2009, out-year gaps remained well below the historical average under prior administrations."

Translation: The city has plenty of money and the unions could have done better in this round of bargaining. 

The city always forecasts a dire budget picture for the future (the out years) and then amazingly money appears and things are fine.  This happens in good times and even sometimes in bad times. 

As the economic outlook keeps improving now that we seem to be fully emerging from the Great Recession, it took some really poor negotiating skills on the part of municipal labor to get us where we are. 

Who set that municipal labor pattern of 10% increases over 7 years and waiting for years to receive back pay from the last round of bargaining with the city?  The UFT of course.  We are certainly doing our part to balance the books and keep inflation in check.

One other point: I read the press release kind of quickly but I didn't see where the interest for CSA members who are in the fixed TDA was being reduced from 8.25% to 7% like the UFT agreed to do in 2009 but maybe I missed it.  Or perhaps that was an exclusive UFT giveback.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


In response to a Freedom of Information Law request from Francesco Portelos, the New York City Department of Education reported there are 1,890 Absent Teacher Reserves, including teachers, counselors, secretaries and school psychologists as of September 10, 2014. This would seem to be a much higher number than the UFT led us to believe were in the ATR pool.     

The 1,890 total is after the severance package that a few ATRS took in the summer and the large retirement exodus in June. The total does not include teachers and others who were hired provisionally or to replace people who are on long term leaves and so are reported on school budgets.

To put this number in perspective, there are only 1,768 teachers in the entire City of Yonkers School District.


It has been a week since I spoke to the Panel for Educational Policy and Chancellor Carmen Farina. Not surprisingly,  I have not heard back from anyone at the DOE concerning my request for the Chancellor, or someone from her office, to meet with representatives from the Absent Teacher Reserve Alliance (ATRA) to discuss our concerns. I am trying to remain optimistic that something substantial is different under the present administration as compared to the last one. Maybe the response will come soon.

If the Chancellor is concerned about offending the UFT by meeting with us, I would like to point out that Article 1 of the UFT contract gives us a right to meet with administration. Here is the language:

"Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prevent any Board official from meeting with any employee organization representing employees in the bargaining unit for the purpose of hearing the views and proposals of its members,  except that, as to matters presented by such organizations which are proper subjects of collective bargaining, the Union shall be informed of the meeting and, as to those matters, any changes or modifications shall be made only through negotiations with the Union."

We understand no group can speak for the UFT and the Union would have to negotiate changes to the ATR agreement.  However, the question I have is what will it take to have the DOE meet with representatives of ATRs who have been elected exclusively by ATRs, Absent Counselor Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers? We have real matters of importance that need to be addressed.

If we were a corporate reform front group, then someone at the Department of Education would probably have already found the time to set up a meeting with us. On the other hand, a large group of displaced teachers and counselors might have to make some more noise to be heard.

Friday, November 28, 2014


On Tuesday evening, I spoke on behalf of Absent Teacher Reserves at the Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Manhattan.  The text of the speech is below and you can watch it on You Tube if you would like (thanks to Norm Scott for the video).

To illustrate how little has changed since Bill de Blasio took over from Mike Bloomberg as Mayor and Carmen Farina replaced Dennis Walcott as Chancellor, a DOE official took down my contact information after I spoke at the PEP but I am still waiting to hear from them on what is an immediate concern. 

As part of my speech, I requested a release from being an ATR at Hillcrest to start at Middle College High School right away as Middle College wants to hire me for a leave replacement position through June.  Guess what, I heard nothing from anybody at the DOE except for an email telling me to go to Hillcrest next week.  I will have no chance to become acclimated at a new school that does not operate in a traditional way. Nothing against Hillcrest but if another school wants to hire me, shouldn't they be able to let me come there right away instead of wasting another week at a school where I am only covering classes? In the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal; it's just one little anecdote showing how little has changed in the schools compared to the past.

I also asked for the Chancellor or someone from her office to meet with representatives from the Absent Teacher Reserve Association.  Let's see if we hear back from them.

PEP Statement November 25, 2014

 Good evening Chancellor Farina and Panel members.  My name is James Eterno.  I addressed the panel many times under the previous administration mainly advocating for Jamaica HS, the 122 year old school that was closed by Chancellor Walcott but didn't fully phase out until this past June. We tried to get a new lease on life from our new Chancellor as we wrote to you in January and you sent a deputy to visit but after that we never heard from you or your office.  We had to find out from Melinda Katz, the Queens Borough President, that we were officially closed.

Since Jamaica is now closed, this fall many of my colleagues and I are now Absent Teacher Reserves. Having spent many years dedicating our professional lives to working with kids, we deserve better than to be bounced around Queens whenever administration decides to play musical ATRs.  I would like to point out to the Panel and the Chancellor some of what goes on in schools with regard to ATRs.

For example, many of us have been sent on mandatory interviews for jobs that do not exist. We are forced to go or we will have resigned our jobs. Assistant principals meet me and apologize for wasting my time.  What kind of organization sends people on phony job interviews while simultaneously  paying for coverages at the schools where we are temporarily assigned because we are not there?

There is a myth out there that all of the ATRS do not want a permanent placement in a school.  I can't speak for anyone else but I know some friends from Jamaica and I want permanent jobs.  In this ridiculous rotation system you and the UFT agreed to, two administrators have told me they like my work but nobody will hire me permanently because I'm too expensive.  This is outrageous.  Even now when middle College HS wants me as a leave replacement, I can't get released from Hillcrest by your ATR office until after December 5. Why not tomorrow? This is just ridiculous.

The rotation system has no rhyme or reason to it.  Some of us changed schools after three weeks while others are staying for six.  We have no say in it as it is apparently up to the whims of principals; some are very professional and feel for us while others are not.

Chancellor you have mentioned mutual consent hiring rather than forced placement.  Mutual consent does not apply to ATRs because we can be forced placed by any principal at any time and if we say no to the placement, we've resigned.  What kind of mutual consent is that?

Over 100 ATRs have formed the ATR Alliance.  As an employee organization, we would like to meet with you or your representatives to discuss our concerns which I have just scratched the surface of in two minutes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Here is a story from Capital NY about how the city has found an additional $2.6 billion in savings and revenue while adding much less in spending. 

Anyone who believed the cupboard was bare, as Michael Mulgrew told us when the contract was settled, just wasn't looking.

UFT members who voted for the contract on the belief that if we turned it down and went back to the negotiating table we would do worse are not looking like financial geniuses now either.

Our friend NYC Educator wrote a piece earlier on what he is thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I am fairly certain the mayor is thankful that he negotiated a pattern setting contract with the UFT's current Unity Caucus leadership and not the people in the opposition.

Harris Lirtzman filed this report on the added city revenues. We thank him for discovering the windfall which is kind of buried in the Capital NY account.

Funny, the City announced an unexpected $2.6 billion in additional debt service savings and tax revenues the day before Thanksgiving....almost like it didn't want anyone to find out that the joint is rolling in dough.

The City is "spreading" that sofa-cushion money over the next two fiscal years, again, just in case anyone, say a union contract negotiator, might realize it was there, now, in the bank account.

This spring, the UFT wouldn't listen to those of us who were warning it not to buy the City's claim of imminent financial disaster.

Our union might have got the retro payment in two or three years, maybe even a lump sum, and, God forbid, have negotiated an actual raise instead of a signing bonus for 2011-12.  It could even have delivered on its promise to retirees to pay the lump-sum in July rather than reopening the contract five months later in order to have an arbitrator rummage around in the contract to find them their additional $60 million somewhere.

We can all bemoan the fact that our beloved union is run like a one-party state.

I don't think we can forgive our union leadership for failing at its primary responsibility--social justice or no social justice--which is to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that doesn't sell its members short because of incompetence.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.



The letter below is from a local leader in response to NYSUT leadership's offer to send to presidents lists of our members who did and didn't vote earlier this month.

Hey All,

After sitting on this for a couple of days - I finally formulated my thoughts on the offer to get a list of my members who did not vote.

As disappointing as it is to hear that only 40% of NYSUT members voted, what is more disappointing, for me, is the response by NYSUT leadership. Blaming the results of the November 4th election on the rank-and-fie membership not voting is at best misdirection and at worst an unforgivable lack of understanding for the current circumstances most members find themselves in.

Many of us feel that it was NYSUT's silence in the Gubernatorial election and flawed (and subsequently failed) plan to elect low level Democrat's in the Senate, that left members un-motivated to participate in this election. It seems pretty obvious Justin Wagner was not going to get members to the voting booth. We already turned the Senate Democratic and the Governor with the help of the IDC worked behind the scenes to steal this success from us. Putting all of our hopes on this same strategy virtually guaranteed we would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The reality is, individual Senators and Assembly members make little difference in New York. It is the three or four men in the room that determine the policies we live under. Whether or not Justin Wagner won or lost it would have made at best a marginal difference for our members, even if we voted in a Democratic senate, he was destined to be a Senator of a party in the minority. It is clear now that the IDC is still alive and kicking.

Our members were not fools, gullible or lazy, they were confused. It is clear to everyone that Andrew Cuomo will not rest until he destroys our profession and unity. Our members correctly identify him as the biggest problem in the state and wanted us to lead them towards a solution. NYSUT's enforced silence on the Governor's race conveyed a sense of hopelessness to the membership and they responded the way hopeless people always do. I agree that 40% turnout is incredibly disappointing, but I do not believe the membership is at fault. After spending six million dollars in this campaign, how many of our members, or Presidents, can say what the strategy was. We had an opportunity to bring the Governor below a 50% threshold, which would have been a career ending embarrassment for him. Despite our silence he only earned 52.5% of the vote. If we had given our members a plan to address their reality they would have voted. When we convey hopelessness, they give up. It is a problem with leadership not membership.

This leadership team promised a *NEW* NYSUT. This leadership team promised militancy. This leadership team promised that NYSUT will be the voice that cannot be ignored. This leadership team called Cuomo the Scott Walker of NY - but now suddenly they want to endorse Cuomo while the rest of the state has to fight against that. If we are to believe that the Revive NYSUT rhetoric was anything other than a cynical ploy to oust the former officers of NYSUT (because they were moving away from Randi and blind support for , the core, Cuomo), the NYSUT officers must make real moves towards engagement.

So, in short, do NOT send me a list of my members who did not vote. Send me a viable plan to oust the politicians that are supporting the corporate reform movement. Send me a list of candidates who are going to repeal the Tax Levy Cap & GEA. Send me a list of candidates who want to revoke Common Core. But do not send me a list that tells my members that it is their fault.

There you have it.

Monday, November 24, 2014


The School custodians who are part of 32 BJ  Local 891 have reached a new contract agreement with the city.  According to press reports I have seen, they are receiving the same 18% salary increases over 9 years that the UFT got in the spring to set a pattern for city workers.

The custodian's contract is retroactive to 2007 and lasts through 2016.

I have one question for anybody who has a good relationship with their custodian:

Do the custodians have to wait until 2020 to get their retroactive money like we do? 

Press reports are silent on this question but I think it is important.

UPDATE: As Unity Must Go stated in the comments, I spoke to one of the custodial staff at Hillcrest High School, where I am temporarily assigned, and he confirmed that the payments are stretched out so the UFT pattern holds for them.

I will just add the comment from Unity Must Go in full to the posting. 

Unitymustgo! said...
Yes, the custodians have to wait. One of my custodians showed me the agreement. Their arrears will be paid out using exactly the same 12.5, 12.5, 0, 25, 25, 25 through 2020 as us, only their date for payment is july 1 of each year. Their contract only extends to 2016. They are also getting the same $1000 ratification bonus. There is no interest.

Friday, November 21, 2014


The NYC Independent Budget Office has released a report on city finances. Harris Lirtzman, who knows finance, has some analysis that he sent to ICE. It is copied below in full.

The IBO projected today a budget deficit of approximately $2.5 billion for the next fiscal year. That represents 3.3% on the City's $75 billion budget.

This is sofa-change for the City, which in the past had to close $5-6 billion deficits on much smaller overall budgets.

I raise all this because you'll probably remember the panicked cries that went out before and during the contract negotiations that paying the retroactive increase would break the bank.  So the contract was extended to nine years and the retro stretched out beyond the term of the contract.  Employees who quit before the new contract got nothing and retirees are being told to wait until an arbitrator can find $60 million somewhere else in the agreement to move around to pay them.

No disaster.  No bankruptcy.  No fiscal crisis.  Some of us said loudly at the time that there would be no disaster or fiscal crisis.

Unfortunately, our leadership bought the narrative lock, stock and barrel and we got a lousy deal through 2018 with payments stretched out to 2020.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


A resolution calling for the UFT to support the cause of students in Mexico who have disappeared and one calling for Time Magazine to apologize for their teacher bashing cover were passed at the November Delegate Assembly yesterday. The Mexican students had disappeared and were probably tortured and murdered.  Abe Levine of the ruling Unity Caucus spoke in favor of an amendment introduced by Leroy Barr calling for the AFT to do research on the nature of the organization we were supporting in Mexico before we fully support them and the body agreed to this change before passing the resolution.

(Update: AFT did some quick research and supported the resolution for the missing students. There is a demonstrations on their behalf on Friday, Nov 21 at the Mexican Consulate, located at 21 E 39th Street, Manhattan at 4:00 pm.)

Two different resolutions failed at the DA. One was introduced by Megan Moskop who wanted the UFT to support a teacher hiring diversity petition.  She wanted it placed on this month's agenda which is not debatable and requires a 2/3 vote to be added in.  Before she raised the motion, Unity's Leroy Barr during his Staff Director's Report commented that the UFT was doing much already through its Social and Economic Justice Committee to increase diversity in hiring.  Megan did get to make a few points even though her motion was for this month's agenda so she is just supposed to make a motion.  She did not get the 2/3 vote necessary to put it on the agenda.

Another motion was raised by Marjorie Stamberg to support First Amendment rights in Ferguson Missouri.  This also failed to carry.

President's Report
(Thanks to Megan Moskop for helping on this as I was late getting to the nearly deserted visitor's section on the 19th floor.)

What do we say about the elections that just passed?

Low voter turnout- 28% in NY State, lowest number ever. That’s what the people who don't like us are always pushing for. If we vote and get our people out to vote, we’re in a good place.

You all have TVs, so Mulgrew didn't get into details.

Governor’s races are a problem.
Tons of mailers. We need to spend some time and money organzing people to actually get out to vote. Fewer mailers.
Tech bond act passed- millions of dollars to technology in NYC.

94 struggling schools in NYC

92- want to set up meetings jointly w/ DOE and UFT folks in schools. Farina keeps saying, and keeps getting beaten up over collaboration. When she says trust she means trust for the whole school community. Integrity. Shared responsibility. Must move from being an individual profession to a team profession. The job is too hard; we can do it better together. Successful schools should be sharing ideas. She’s been clear that the hunger games are over.

2- Automotive & Boys and Girls: special cases
Submitted a plan a while ago, but it was rejected. It is clear that SED was going to close the schools. Long hours to come to agreement. We feel this is a good plan for how to move forward without closing the schools. (Will not close until we first try to help them.) These two schools have never been treated fairly. Huge #s of high need kids. Now we have a planning committee. Change in conditions of work environment now. Personnel committee- 50% UFT members (if dispute, it is taken to Mulgrew and Farina). We want to show people that this is how it should  work.

Aris and Amplify
Contracts have been cancelled for both.

Tenure Lawsuit
Motion to dismiss California copycat case to end tenure in NYS filed by us in late October.  Should hear an answer by November 28.

Consultation and Paperwork Committees
Every school needs a Consultation Committee.  Must bring up school-wide issues during the contractually mandated monthly consultation meetings with the principal.  The newly empowered Superintendents can help resolve problems if we have raised them at the school level first.  The same applies to paperwork.  We need to bring the issues up at the school level first.

Arbitration on Arrears for Retirees
Last night the arbitrator ruled that there would be arrears paid to those UFT members who retired between 2009 and June 2014.  Intent was for everyone to get the money up front (Editorial: That's already not happening).  We will work with arbitrator to make everyone whole.  $60 million in a $5 billion contract should not be difficult to fix. Lucky we had a clause to reopen this if there was a problem.

Leroy Barr Staff Director's Report
The next DA is December 17; he also announced other upcoming events with special emphasis placed on the UFT committee that helps the homeless.

Question Period
Question: What is being done about principals who make our members' jobs more difficult?
Answer: Superintendents are now in place who will oversee like the law says they should.  Since Superintendents serve at the pleasure of the Chancellor, none would dare do much under Bloomberg but now they are empowered under Farina.  Superintendents are now educators.  15 have been replaced. Farina says there needs to be trust.  Principals must respect staff.  Fixing accountability system is next.

Question: Can administration dictate binders that call for everything including what colors they should have be submitted?
Answer: No, this is an example of something that should be worked out in consultation and if it can't be resolved, then take it up with the District Representative.

Question: Aren't we creating new ATRS in Automotive and Boys and Girls?
Answer: People have to reapply for their jobs because we changed the working conditions by adding a mandatory week of work in the summer.  Persons not rehired will be placed in schools for a year if they cannot find a new position. 

(Editorial- Mulgrew says people displaced from these two schools won't become ATRS but annual placement for ATRs is precisely how ATRs were used before the infamous 2011 rotation agreement when the UFT inexplicably agreed to weekly movements from school to school.  Then again, it is indefensible that the UFT agreed to give up preferred placement when schools close in the horrific 2005 contract.  No real gain here, just easing the loss a bit.)

Question: A principal says there is no money in the budget for supplies.  Is this a proper excuse for not having supplies?
Answer: File a grievance under Article 7R.  The School Leadership Team is required to discuss the budget.  Schools have to decide how to use their money.  Administrator per session has been abused in recent years.

Question: There is a leaky roof at Clara Barton High School that is leaking into an electrical box.  Isn't this a dangerous situation where we should walk out?
Answer: We are informing the School Construction Authority immediately.  This is a dangerous situation and we will do what it takes to ensure safety of the school.

Motions already mentioned were all that was left on the agenda.  Some worthy causes were raised but there was nothing earth shattering for sure at this meeting.