Grievance settlement gives protections to teachers in excess
by Dorothy Callaci | published September 27, 2012
The recent settlement of a union-initiated grievance provides stronger
protections for teachers serving in the Absent Teacher Reserve pool and
new provisions governing their assignments.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew noted in announcing the settlement that
it would save the city millions of dollars and keep experienced
teachers in the classroom where they belong.
The union filed the grievance on behalf of all members who have been
placed in excess once it was confirmed that principals were failing to
comply with or simply ignoring the June 2011 agreement that made
changes to how teachers in the ATR pool are deployed.
Under the settlement, principals have been instructed that they must
use members from the excess pool and not per-diem substitutes to fill
leaves, long-term absences — now defined as longer than 29 workdays —
and vacancies. Teachers in excess filling these positions cannot be
rotated week-to-week unless the principal requests a change.
In the week-to-week rotations, early childhood-licensed teachers can no
longer be sent to junior high schools and junior high school-licensed
teachers cannot be sent to elementary schools to fill early childhood
positions. But junior high school teachers can be sent to elementary
schools to fill common-branch assignments.
From now on, members in excess in the Brooklyn and Staten Island High
School District (BASIS) can be assigned to schools only in the same
borough as the school from which they were excessed.
Under the settlement, members in excess who agree to be provisionally
hired must be treated the same as all other school employees. At the
end of the school year, if the member wants to remain at the school and
the principal agrees, the member will take his or her rightful place in
seniority order. Both the provisional hire agreement and the agreement
to make the assignment permanent must be in writing.
Both the original 2011 agreement and the new provisions and stronger
protections will be monitored by a strengthened Joint Oversight
Committee charged with resolving any infractions as they arise. If a
problem cannot be resolved, the member now has the right to grieve.
Teachers in the ATR pool, who have been forced to leave their schools
because of declining enrollments or school closings, have always had
the full support of the union. Mulgrew has long pressed the Department
Of Education to use teachers who have been excessed to fill long-term
leaves and absences as both a contractual obligation and a prudent way
to save money.
“By living up to its agreement and using these experienced teachers in
the ATR pool instead of hiring outside substitutes, the city will not
only save millions of dollars but kids will continue to have great
teachers in their classrooms every day,” he said.