I got on a little late.
When I got on the call, President Michael Mulgrew was giving a review of the 2021-2022 school year. He talked about the rise of omicron and the change of mayoral administrations. He then mentioned the Albert Shanker Scholarship Award ceremony that was held last night. It was the first time in three years it was live. We do undergraduate and graduate. scholarships.
Gun control and national elections are a big deal. Some important cases going before the Supreme Court. This is a busy weekend with the massive gun control rally with a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a book giveaway event in the Rockaways, we are honoring our secretaries, there will be a large contingent at Puerto Rican Day Parade. There is a Soapbox Derby in Brooklyn that was started by a teacher in Staten Island. The teacher who started it was Pat Lockhart.
State Legislature Session
The mayor is not happy. We got some things done. Before mayoral control, mayors didn't want to fund school system and they would blame the Board of Education. It is legally still the Board of Education. Mayors would have to fund system after mayoral control was passed. Assembly and Senate had two bills. They eventually agreed to fixed one-year terms for PEP members. We don't want 23 people on the PEP panel but the new additions are parents which is good. Have attended many PEP meetings. Closing school meetings went until 4:00 am. Now mayor can't fire people who don't vote the way he wants. Also in Albany, mandatory overtime for nurses is a big win for them.
We got the class size legislation passed. What you did last spring was the foundation for this. Every elected official at the state level who represents NYC knew about it. Lobbying elected officials and it was an ugly fight. Because we built the foundation last spring, we were able to move passed the shenanigans. City said there wasn't space. We showed 90% of schools have space already and more will have it with construction. It will be an investment for the next five years. The city had no plan for the additional $1.3 billion annually that they got from the state. Lower class sizes will cost $200 million a year for five years. What would we rather spend the extra foundation aid on: lower class sizes or more contracts for DOE projects? Give us a few weeks and we can find $1 billion from the DOE.
We do costing all the time. We had the documents. We used city's own numbers to show they can do this. City is full of crap. Their costing documents had a price for increasing ventilation for every student. We believe the DOE made up a crazy number. We believe they were just lying with numbers. We had documents to get to Legislators. Thanks to Senator John Liu for leading this fight. He agreed this was a funded mandate. Robert Jackson jumped in to squash the city's arguments. The final vote was 59-4 in the Senate. In the Assembly, it was 147-2. This will get up to the Governor's office in July. These votes are veto-proof. Nothing is ever done until it's done. Got back from Germany two weeks ago.
Go to UFT.org/budget. Go on there for Chapter Leaders as we have the projected cut for your particular school. We will tweet and work with City Council to make sure we protect our schools. 350 people looking at their phones. Popular schools will not have students thrown out. We will give those schools exemptions from lower class sizes. We would never hurt these schools. They can have a plan for the future. Tweeting for budgets.
Preliminary budget in March. The city can adjust when the state budget comes out. State budget is April1, city is July 1. We put out a reaction to the city's preliminary budget calling for $375 million in cuts. State budget came in $1.3 billion over what the city projected because of the increase in foundation aid. DOE didn't adjust when extra state money came in. We also have the extra billions in federal funding. We have had a drop in enrollment in the last ten years and a significant enrollment decline in the last five years. We are down to 820,000. DOE funds per pupil. We used to fund by units. If 3 students need a specialty class, that is not funded in the per pupil formula. We could do a hybrid formula. Principals are apoplectic unless they are in a school that has had an increase in enrollment which has happened. We should be planning for September. The new administration walked into a COVID wave. We don't want to fight on this.
We worked together on DOE on dyslexia screening. We worked together on the calendar. We need to prepare for notice of excess letters which do not mean you are fired, but might you not have a position in your current school. We want a plan in place. We want to tell parents we have a plan. We want people to have confidence in the schools. This chaos is the worst thing that could be happening in June. We will work with the City Council to make sure there are no cuts to the schools. This is the worst mistake the city could be making. Our work is not done for the year. Find your school budget at UFT/budgets. Budget cuts are all over the place. We need to start working with City Council folks. Many who we helped get into office. Councilmembers are hearing about cuts. DOE support networks are telling principals to maximize class sizes and excess people. We have one more fight for this year. Asks Delegates if they are ready for this? One last thing.
SBO's going out with the calendar done.
Global test out of distributive scoring. It is a per session posting. We wasted tens of millions of dollars on distributive scoring. Once a truck with exams got lost in Connecticut. That is the DOE at their best. This administration is giving this a shot.
Universal literacy coaches: new administration understands the value of universal literacy coaches and are going to try to make this happen.
PD tomorrow and on the 28th. Many fights still going on. Thanks Mary Vacarro and district reps. Superintendents are supposed to solve this. We got hundreds of school leaders enlightened on what can be done remotely from home.
New Congressional and State Senate maps: If an endorsed candidate is in a district that hasn't changed, we don't have to reopen the process. We have two endorsed candidates in certain seats. New districts have no endorsed candidates. We have an interview process. This district is a new congressional seats. Six people came in for interviews. Six we have previously endorsed.
We take great pride in the pride. Conferences at UFT Headquarters. Danny Dromm Scholarship. He was the first openly gay City Councilmember.
Staff Director's Report:
Saturday book distribution event. School Secretary luncheon. March for gun control going from Brooklyn Bridge to Zaccotti Park. Negotiating Committee meeting June 15. LGBTQ weekend, parade is June 26. UFT benefit on October 10 for Disaster Relief Fund. Sending money to Ukraine for teachers doing heroic work. Thank you for doing the work of the union.
Mulgrew returns to say the resolution on Asian Americans getting done one day after it passed.
Question: D22 person asks: Why are we doing Acadiance testing in grades K-2? It is extra, repetitive paperwork. Testing kids who can read and asking them what letter it is.
Mulgrew Answer: Testphobia is growing. Who is the idiot who thinks this is a good idea? We have had these conversations. Chancellor talking to D75 folks on the last day of school. Some of this is based on Principal's APPR's and Quality Reviews. This is the same thing three times in a row. Dyslexia screening is not just about dyslexia and that is why we support proper screening. Policies have to be about common sense and not the needs of the bureaucracy.
Question: D75 CL says that D75 and 79 not included in funding, is there a list so we can see what is being spent?
Answer: D75 enrollment not as great as others. We've asked and we will figure it out. We have always had a hard time figuring out how D75 allocates funding. You can't have transparency if they can't explain the budget.
Question: Dyslexia training, all the teachers have to register and many are being waitlisted. Why is this coming so late?
Answer: Email went out earlier. It is a two-hour training. We will help with access if you get us information. We don't have issues with Mayor on this. If we screen every child k-2 this year, then next year we only have to do K.
Question: Safety question, teachers have to figure out how many kids can fit in a closet and how can I barricade a classroom door. What is happening from intruders getting into the front door into schools?
Answer: We met yesterday with a bunch of people from NYPD along with David Banks' brother Phillip who is a deputy mayor. A camera outside the front door and a buzzer. We had to talk about us not being guards. We know in middle and high schools kids open doors for others. We were told every school has been trained on a soft lockdown (only two raise their hands that it's been done). New person Mark Rampasaud who did the Covid Building Response Team is in charge of safety. We are all afraid we are going to have an incident in NY. Was in charge of safety before becoming President. 5-8 texts a day on safety incidents where it used to be one per week. There is a severe violence problem. We have to figure this out. We don't have campuses; by and large our schools are right up against the street. Pilot with 50 schools. We have to do something for the entire system.
Motion from Exec Bd to extend this year's hybrid DA's for 2022-23 and to make that the first item on the agenda.
746 Yes to 24 No on the phone; Live it is 166 Yes to 12 Non live so that is a combined 96% yes.
VP Janella Hinds moves to change the agenda items DA rules, LGBTQ, Ukraine, Women's Herstory
606 Yes to 50 No 163 Yes to (I didn't get the No votes but overall it was 92% Yes.
Motion to discontinue Apeture (DESSA test) three year contract with a 43-question test and reallocate the funding for this month.
632 Yes to 28 No on phone; Live 155 Yes to 14 No 95 % in favor.
Special Orders of Business
Hybrid DA, Exec Bd member says it was difficult to start but we have seen a huge increase in DA participation. Many Delegates have child care issues so they were able to attend on the phone. This will bring us together.
Matt Driscoll amendment: Full rights for people on the phone including presenting resolution.
Someone speaks against it on grouds that we don't have the technology.
Nick Bacon speaks in favor of the amendment. People on the phone want to present resolutions and amendments because those on the phone don't have full rights and they deserve full rights.
Janella Hinds speaks in opposition: Technology doesn't allow for business to be done and giving full rights should not be afforded at this time. We have to ensure that it is only DA members. Another Unity Exec Bd member says you can't guarantee internet working. We are not there yet with the technology to make amendments and points of order on the phone. Another exec bd member calls the question on all matters before the house.
437 vote yes to close debate to 87 on the phone and it was 150 to 15 to close debate live.
360 Yes to 267 No on the phone on the amendment but live it is unknown but Mulgrew announces it is 384 Yes to 388 No in totality. Mulgrew comes back to say we have to be able to verify that the person online is who they say they are.
The original resolution vote is 634 Yes to 38 No; 187-18 Live.
LGBTQ support resolution motivated by Mike Sill. Pat Crispino follows talking about her long history on this subject and how we don't want to go back. Another two speak in favor and then the question is called.
547 Yes to 30 No on the phone; 153 Yes to 3 No live on closing debate.
149 Yes to 6 No live; 541-56 No on the phone.
Ukraine support against the Russian invasion was motivated by a middle school exec bd member. Nobody wants to debate but Mulgrew still calls the question.
Motion to close debate passes 576 to 24.
Yes 541 to No 38 on the phone; 146 Yes to 3 No live.
Mulgrew thanks everyone and says we have work still to do to protect the schools.