Saturday, July 07, 2018

IS EXCESSING A CITYWIDE PROBLEM BECAUSE OF DECLINING ENROLLMENT?

This alarming information on excessing because of declining pupil enrollment came from Unity's Gene Mann in the Organizer, the weekly publication he puts out.

Excessing

Every year, because of fluctuations in funding and student population, schools have to make staffing decisions, which may well result in excessing.
  
That’s the standard opening I use for this article every year.  This year, things are different.  Despite excellent school funding for next year, catastrophic losses of student populations have led to widespread excessing this year.

The causes vary from school to school, even within districts, but federal immigration policies, charter school competition, and gentrification are the most frequently mentioned.
I’ll be exploring those issues further in subsequent Organizers.

He then gives evidence from three schools to show massive excesses in Queens. 

Are there "catastrophic losses of student population" citywide?

If the answer is yes, then the Absent Teacher Reserve pool will grow substantially in the fall.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, its true. However, Mulgrew and Sill are touting an extremely low number of ATRs.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone believe anything Mulgrew says?

Anonymous said...

Yes, elementary teachers believe every word that stumbles out of his mouth.

Anonymous said...

Lots of excessing in Queens from what I hear.

Anonymous said...

I've been in my building for over 20 years and this is the first year we've excessed. Principals' budgets have been cut to shreds, which is why FSF sucks.

I feel for the people who were cut (because they had nothing to do with the hideous contract that led up to this), but I remember when elementary school teachers scoffed at the idea of one of them becoming an ATR- because "that's a high school thing". Chickens are coming home to roost.

Mary Ahern said...

My school also had it's budget cut with the principal threatening to excess staff if a number of teachers don't move on voluntarily. I believe the DOE changed the formula for enrollment projections.

I looked at my school's website and they DOE is projecting 699 students for the upcoming school year while the current school year enrollment shows 760 but we actually had 776 students on the last day of school so I'm not sure when the revised enrollment tally took place. I'm also wondering where the projected 699 number came from because I looked at the enrollment for each grade and it's stable for next year. Our Kindergarten enrollment is down slightly but we usually have a boost in September. It's only down maybe 20 students, definitely not down by 75 students.

Also, the funding for 2018-2019 shows 87% of FSF but didn't Mayor deBlasio announce that the city was contributing $125 Million so that all schools would be funded at 90% of FSF? Our 2018-2019 budget is down by nearly $300,000 and I don't understand why. Is the DOE just playing games to force principals to excess teachers? Is anyone looking into this?

Anonymous said...

You can bet your pension the UFT will either co-write or just repeat whatever bs explanation the DOE gives. Chancellor may be in way over his head. Bureaucrats doing what they need to.

Anonymous said...

Questions: A teacher who does not have tenure and is excessed goes into the ATR pool?

The DOE can still hire new teachers to fill vacancies?

So the ATR pool grows larger each year?

DOE pays all these salaries?

CONFUSING!!!!!

Anonymous said...

A teacher without tenure will be hired immediately because of lower salary. It’s the veteran staff, that if excessed, will be swimming in the pool for the rest of their career. Fair Student Funding at its diabolical worst.

Bronx ATR said...

Teachers need to learn the dynamics of Fair Student Funding. If each school only gets 87% of it individual alloted budget then someone is going to be excessed even if if there is an increase in the projected student population. A couple of years ago I was in a school that projected an increase and still excessed several teachers that had about ten years in (and who had never taught anywhere else). The remaining staff were told they all had to pick up a sixth class. All the excessed teachers there became ATRs and were provisionally placed for the year. They have since all been put back in the ATR pool. There are hundreds of such teachers and the UFT doesn't count them as ATRs in order to minimize the real numbers. Now imagine the scenario where there is a decrease in students. In some terrible schools that are closing almost the entire staff is made up of fellows. These fellows will be unemployed if they aren't picked up. The thing is they only have four to six weeks of training and are taking a position away from excessed/ATR teachers. They aren't even paid a salary which makes them tremendously attractive to the thrifty principal. There are hundreds of fellows throughout the city. They don't pay union dues, but those of us that are ATRs do. (That's not to say that many of them may become fine teachers if given the chance or that I hold any animus towards them. All of the many I've met are wonderful people.) I bring this up because I recently had a long conversation with Mr.John Monteforte, who was lamenting the plight of fellows, while totally ignoring my pointed questions on the ATR pool. I understand his reluctance - it's hard to work for a union that allows its most experienced members to be treated like pariahs. I like Monty and think he's a great rep, but it would be nice if people like Monty would voice their own opinions rather than the collective's Mulgrew viewpoint.

Anonymous said...
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James Eterno said...

We were going along so well for a week or two. Were you on vacation? No hijacking the posts. Please stay on topic. Thanks.

James Eterno said...

Bronx ATR, If the reps expressed what was really going on, they would probably lose their jobs.

ed notes online said...

Mulgrew at the DA said the DOE is hiring around 4000 teachers this year and was so proud that the UFT signed up almost all of the first batch of 800 they met with. So if there is excessing why are they hiring new teachers? I think we have a clue. Keep the churn going. UFT should demand a moratorium on new hiring until all are placed. And some of the drainage of public schools is due to the growth of charters which each year add grades.

Anonymous said...

File this under Ripley's Believe it or Not: One of our teachers (who rightfully should have been excessed) was "saved" by administration. This person was told to "get stuff" on the other teacher in the department and to "throw him under the bus at every opportunity" so they could get rid of him.

Anonymous said...

5 teachers in my school were excessed. The staff including myself were so angry at the principal. We actually started ridiculing him.The principal told us it was out of his control. I guess he was telling the truth.

After reading this, I have greater appreciation of how hard it is to be a principal.

UFT and CSA should collaborate to question the DOE.

Anonymous said...

There are two things going on in my building in Queens: first, a whole group of highly qualified ATRs are being excessed. Their freshly minted replacements were already interviewed and chosen last month. Principal only wants people he can bully to do his will, even if it means scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush (ditto supt.); second, a large number of teachers are permanently teaching the sixth period and at a very high rate, for at least five or six years. They receive enormous privileges, besides the money, but limited extra work since their extra period is another 45 min. of a class they already teach.(This crowd is so tight with the management that many of their extras come with additional per session assignments worth thousands more.) So school-wide assignments, curriculum, workshops, testing fall on every overburdened classroom teacher who is getting no extra money, who is assigned during every prep period and every lunch to do administrative tasks, write curriculum, attend workshops, and watch the hallway, caf, or bathroom. There is a critical shortage of school aides and deans, with the building frequently out of control. We are overwhelmed with administrators to the tune of at least 1.2 million. (Several of them teach no classes, and do little more than a school aide most of the day.) This is not counting the pretenders who are on teacher lines but teach nothing at all. Population size has not changed for the fall and usually goes up a bit mid Sept.. Class size has been maximal all year for those who do actually teach. It's a toxic, hate-filled environment, with a lot of angry people using sick days just to survive.

Unitymustgo! said...

I can attest to the projected enrollment decline at my elementary school In Richmond hill. Principal said enrollment projections are for nearly 60 less. Biggest decline is in K and 1. Principal also stated that all the other elementary schools in our neighborhood are also projected with steep declines. Our Principal has not excessed as of yet (as far as I know), and swears she will not have to. While I do believe she wants to believe what she is saying, I think she is deluding herself. I expect to return in Sept and learn of 1, if not 2 teachers being excessed. Other than The Organizer I have heard nothing from Mulgrew and his pals. One would think they would be preparing to help these people, but like I have written before they (Unity) are never ever seemingly proactive. They are purely reactive. I would need a hundred fingers and toes to count the number of times as CL I have heard Unity folk, District Rep, etc., tell CL's to not worry about that now, or we'll cross that path when it comes to real legitimate questions and issues that warranted real proactive preparation and planning. They control their internal dissemination of information to members better than Kim Jong Un.

Anonymous said...

Too busy declaring victory in the latest health givebacks to worry about excessing.

Anonymous said...

Before the trend was to target the big schools to create smaller schools. This is how a lot became ATRS. This excessing due to declining enrollment will produce the same result. Watch out, schools are all ready being integrated with other schools and this results in major excessing. We are all victims of this crap. Bloomberg and the union years ago screwed everyone by agreeing to the creation of the ATR status. No one can truly understand how an ATR is treated until they become one. People have 'ideas'. The whole situation is very sad. Feel sorry for those with very little years. It's not the profession it used to be - not by a long shot. Does anyone know anything about the lawsuit initiated by the group of ATRs?

James Eterno said...

Good question. Courts are notoriously slow.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was a reading cluster teacher for many years at a Queens elementary school. One year, she was excessed, but the principal liked her, and kept her on as an ATR assigned to the school. My friend functioned as a per diem sub, and occasionally covered a lengthy absence such as for a teacher on maternity leave. Two years ago, she retired as an ATR and has been enjoying life. Moral of the story: Being an ATR isn’t so terrible when you’re kept at your original school where there’s a sane, humane principal.

Anonymous said...

That’s incredibly rare - there’s even a stipulation that ATRs can not be reassigned, even temporarily, to the school in which they were excessed.

Anonymous said...

There is so much corruption in the DOE. Anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

It’s more bureaucratic incompetence than corruption. As an ATR I was returned to the school I was excessed from for 1 month. It was a difficult experience to endure.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is happy when older teachers are fired or pushed out. When you get rid of one older teacher, you can hire two young ones in their place. Two dues payers is far better than one, one who knows and fights for their rights!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:44- I would agree with you pre-Janus, but now- I'm not so sure. Those new hires may not pay dues- hell, they will probably be in another line of work in 5 years- all part of the DOE's master plan. Keep that revolving door cranking, and nobody ever collects a pension.

T.J. L said...

Several teachers excessed from my building, declining enrollment, but all of the excessing followed the LIFO rules. No ATRs, all untenured - though the Supe in the school I work in now regularly extends teachers to 4, 5 and even 6 years.

Spoke to a Middle School teacher at Regents Scoring. In his school, a charter was co-located in the building, and then the charter started peeling kids off the register. Once they're gone they don't come back, unless of course they're "problem" kids. The charters are flush with cash, constantly refurbish their floor of the building, give kids free uniforms, etc.

T.J. L said...

A side point: when did junior high become "middle school"?

Anonymous said...

Yes, but, as we all know rules (and contractual provisions) are made to be broken.

Anonymous said...

Why are there so many positions still open on the Open Market? Usually by this point nearly all the positions, especially on Staten Island and it good schools are closed. This year they seem to be leavings jobs up for extraordinarily long times.

Do the schools have to post jobs they don’t plan to fill from the Open Market?

T.J. L said...

My school posted vacancies on Open Market that it has no intentions on filling. It even brings in people for 2nd interviews and demos on the chance that someone leaves or retires (and doesn't tell them before June) and they need to fill a spot.

Other schools offer 6th classes instead of filling a program and the CL does not grieve it.

James Eterno said...

Anyone can grieve it.