In what was hailed as a "breakthrough" in negotiations the Executive Board approved, after an impact bargaining session, an agreement which alters the contractually mandated manner in how excessed teachers are treated.
On May 24, 2007 the Superintendent of Alternative Schools, Cami Anderson, announced widespread changes to District 79. Most notable were the closing of a number of schools, the movement of schools out of the district and the creation of special GED schools. While most of the personnel in the District knew that things were going to change no one expected that Anderson would overhaul the District in this manner.
In typical DOE fashion no consultation about the changes was ever entered into with our Union. Also questioned was whether the reorganization was basically a rouse to move personnel, a violation of our contract.
Armed with clear violations of the Contract and the knowledge that the DOE wanted to complete this reorganization due the extraordinary expenditures and alleged failures of the District's programs the Union demanded and won some protections in the reorganization.
Among some of the protections won include the ability of those excessed to apply for the new programs (basically GED programs) in the GED Plus, Restart and ACCESS schools. Personnel will be chosen by a joint UFT/DOE committee. Anyone left out who remains in excess will have the opportunity to be placed as an excessed teacher in one of 5 high schools or a borough, based on seniority.
The schools affected are ASHS, CEC, OES , VTC, New Beginnings, and School for Pregnant Teens.
Second Opportunity Schools and Offsite Suspension will be closed effective August 29, 2007 but have a separate agreement. SOS and Offsite teachers who opted in will be placed in a "New Suspension School" that will have a regular school schedule (summer pay will be kept). Excessed teachers from these schools will follow the previous agreement and will be placed in District 79 schools in their borough. Although not part of the written agreement it is believed that these teachers will be given the same choice as excessed teachers from the other closing schools are given (i.e. 5 school and borough pick).
After all is said and done the agreement does seem fair although it is unclear what would have happened if we fought the reorganization. In any case, the bottom line has not changed; very few of the over 700 excessed teachers have a clue as to where they will be on August 30th or what lies ahead for them since many will remain ATRs throughout the system.
Placement in a school of your choice, based on seniority, is a great concept which should be applied to other reorganizations but placement does not guarantee you appointment. If the principal wants you out you are out. As an ATR you have no rights to the position. In fact as an ATR you have no right to a teaching program preference. You will not be receiving the best programs.
It is clear there will be mass confusion at the start of school. How this helps students in need of special education services that alternative education provided only time will tell.