Q&A on new ‘open market’ transfer plan
Mar 16, 2006 4:09 PM
So you want to switch schools?
The Department of Education has said that members can now demonstrate
their displeasure by “voting with their feet.” In plain language, if
you are not happy with your school or principal this a new “open
market” transfer plan gives all members in a school the opportunity to
apply to leave. See job postings here.
This plan, spelled out in the new contract, replaces the seniority,
integration, clinical and SBO transfer plans. All schools will now use
this new plan, which should provide more opportunities for transfer by
requiring that all vacancies get posted. Individuals can apply to any
and all vacancies for which they are appropriately licensed. The new
plan also redefines the term “vacancy” in such a way as to ensure that
new appointees are no longer vulnerable to being bumped from their
The following “Q&A” is meant to address the most commonly asked
questions about the new transfer plan and excessing procedures.
Q. When will the transfer period begin and how will I be able to learn
A. The DOE will begin to post vacancies accessible via the DOE Web site
(www.nycenet.edu) beginning March 20. As principals continue to learn
of vacancies they will be added to the site. When a position has been
offered and accepted the vacancy will be removed from the site.
Q. Is there a minimum period of time vacancies will be posted?
A. The DOE is telling principals that vacancies should be posted for a
meaningful amount of time - at least 7 calendar days.
Q. What is the definition of a vacancy under the new plan?
A. A vacancy is now defined as a position to which no teacher has been
appointed, except where a non-appointed teacher is filling in for an
appointed teacher on a leave of absence. Vacancies will be created as a
result of growth (positions newly created due to anticipated enrollment
growth or qualification for a new grant), retirements and resignations.
Q. Will schools really be able to project their vacancies for September
of 2006 as early as March 20?
A. While the DOE is committed to getting school allocations out earlier
than ever before — April 24 is their target date — a number of
positions posted in the spring will likely be based on anticipated
retirements. Schools can advertise and select staff to fill projected
vacancies, but a transfer won’t become final until an actual slot
becomes vacant (called an approved vacancy).
Q. It sounds like schools may be adding and deleting vacant positions
throughout the spring and summer, is that right?
A. Yes. For that reason, it’s advisable that those interested in
securing a transfer regularly check the vacancy postings. The new plan
also allows you to apply to a school that hasn’t posted a vacancy in
the event one later develops.
Q. How do I apply?
A. First you’ll be asked to complete an online registration form. To do
this you’ll have to create a user ID and password. Once you do this
you’ll be able to electronically apply to any and all vacancies in your
current license area. Remember, you will also be able to apply to
transfer to schools that have not advertised a vacancy. If you choose
to do this your application will be kept on file should a vacancy
subsequently arise. Upon submitting an application you’ll receive back
an e-mail that confirms its receipt. Additionally, candidates may be
considered through job fairs which will be posted on line.
Q. How will schools know that I’ve applied?
A. Each school will have an online mailbox. It will contain the
applications of candidates interested in transferring to the school.
Q. Once I apply to transfer to an advertised vacancy, what happens next?
A. Every school is required to form a Human Resources Committee
comprised of pedagogues and administration. The committee will meet to
decide the candidates it wants to interview. The committee is not
required to interview all applicants. The committee’s ultimate
responsibility is to make a hiring recommendation to the principal. The
final decision is made by the principal. If successful, you’ll receive
an e-mail confirmation of your transfer.
Q. Will I need a release from my current principal to accept a transfer
to a new school?
A. While the selection of candidates may be made at any time, transfers
secured through August 7 do not require a release.
Q. Will my principal know that I’ve applied for a transfer?
A. Not necessarily. The newly developed electronic transfer application
system does not include an automatic notification to your current
principal. Of course, nothing stops one principal from phoning another
to get his/her opinion.
Q. Will I be asked to sign anything?
A. Both the principal offering a position and the employee accepting
the offer will be asked to sign a new form entitled an “Agreement to
Accept Open Market Transfer.” The document is binding on both parties.
That means once the principal signs the form the offer cannot be
withdrawn unless the vacancy is withdrawn due to budgetary issues. By
the same token, once the employee signs he/she cannot rescind the
transfer. After August 7 an individual may rescind a transfer provided
• The former principal approves
his/her return to the school;
• The new principal approves the
Q. I know under the former seniority and integration plans you could
not secure a transfer if you had received an unsatisfactory rating in
the previous three years. Is that still the case?
A. No. All pedagogues are entitled to pursue a transfer.
Q. Who’s covered by the new transfer plan?
A. All those previously covered by the seniority, integration, SBO and
clinical transfer plans. An open market plan is currently being
developed for paraprofessionals.
Q. I know there was a 5% limit on the number of appointed teachers as
well as a 25% limit on the number of appointed teachers in a particular
license area who could transfer out of a school. Are these limits still
A. No. The open market system places no limit on the percentage of
people who may transfer out of a school.
Q. Can I still apply for a hardship transfer that relates to an issue
of safety, medical need or excessive travel?
A. Yes. This must be done in writing. Applications, which can be
downloaded from the DOE’s Division of Human Resources Web site
(www.nycenet.edu/Offices/DHR/ToolsResources/DHRForms.htm) should be
The Division of Human Resources
N.Y.C. Department of Education
65 Court St. - Room 811
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Q. Is my salary something that a school’s Human Resources Committee
and/or principal should be considering when evaluating my candidacy for
a vacant position?
A. Absolutely not, although this is a common misconception. If a
successful candidate earns more than a school’s average teacher salary
or the salary of the person they’re replacing the region makes up the
difference. If a candidate earns less than a school’s average salary or
the person they’re replacing the region captures the difference. In
other words, there’s neither an incentive nor a disincentive attached
to a candidate’s salary.
Q. What can I do if I believe I was denied a transfer based on my age,
race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual
orientation, handicapping condition or union activity?
A. You should consider filing a grievance citing a violation of Article
Two (“Fair Practices”) of the Agreement.
Q. How will hiring be done at new, redesigned and phasing out schools?
A. This hasn’t changed. Hiring will still be done by a Personnel
Committee comprised of two union representatives, two representatives
designated by the superintendent, a principal or project director, and
where appropriate a School Planning Committee Representative and a
Q. What happens if my school is impacted by the opening of a brand-new
first-year school in my building?
A. If another school is impacted (i.e., closing or being phased out),
the staff from the impacted school is still guaranteed the right to
apply and be considered for positions in the new school. If sufficient
numbers of displaced staff apply, at least fifty percent of the new
school’s pedadgogical positions must be selected from among the
appropriately licensed most senior applicants from the impacted school
who meet the new school’s qualifications.
Q. What if there are still vacancies to be filled?
A. Any remaining vacancies are to be filled by the Personnel Committee
from among transfer applicants, excessed staff and/or new hires.
Candidates must hold appropriate credentials.
Please note: At present there is a disagreement between the DOE and the
union over the rights of staff in impacted (closing or phasing out)
buildings which have schools in their second, third or fourth year of
phasing in. The department position is that the requirement that these
schools also take 50% of the qualified senior staff in these buildings
no longer exists. The union disagrees with that position and will fight
to preserve the rights of our members working in these schools.
Q. If I’m in a phasing out or closing school and am told I’m being
excessed, do I have the right to designate five schools in my
district/superintendency that I want to be excessed to?
A. No. You have the same rights accorded to any excessed person. You
have the right to seek vacancies anywhere in the city via the open
market transfer system. (A fuller discussion of the new excessing
provision appears below.)
Q. What happens to me if I’m in an impacted school and I either don’t
apply or apply and am not selected to fill a vacancy in the new,
redesigned or expanding school in my building?
A. If you are notified that you are in excess and either don’t apply to
the new, redesigned or expanding school in your building, or apply and
are not selected, you are covered by the new excessing provisions.
Q. What are the new excessing provisions?
A. While who gets excessed in an excessing situation remains exactly
the same, what happens to a person in excess has changed. The new
contract requires that by June 15 or as soon thereafter as possible,
principals must notify staff that they are at risk of being excessed.
An excessed teacher may apply for vacancies citywide as well as attend
hiring fairs. A teacher who is unable to secure his/her own position,
or who chooses not to, the DOE may place in a vacancy in his/her
district/superintendency unless a principal denied the placement; if
such a vacancy is not available, then in a vacancy within his/her
region. Again, this placement is subject to the receiving principal’s
OK. The DOE will place an excessed teacher who does not secure a
transfer or a DOE directed placement in an ATR position in the school
from which he/she is being excessed, or in another school in the same
district or superintendency.
Q. If I’m excessed and I get a transfer through the open market
transfer plan do I still have the right of return if a vacancy occurs
in my former school within a year of the date I was excessed?
A. The union’s position is that the right of return still exists and if
necessary we’ll fight to see that members retain this right.
Q. I heard that the DOE originally sought to give an excessed person 18
months to find his/her own position, and if unsuccessful, face lay-off.
Is that still what an excessed person faces?
A. No. The union succeeded in defeating this proposal.
Q. The new excessing procedure sounds like a no lay-off provision. Is
A. Yes. Excessed members are guaranteed the right to a position either
in a new school or in their old school or district/superintendency as
Q. Then if excessed, a person can’t be forcibly moved to another
region. Is that correct?
A. It’s correct for those working in elementary and middle schools.
Since the high school superintendencies span across many regions it’s
not necessarily the case for high school personnel.
Q. Does the union plan to provide assistance in this new process?
A. Yes, the borough offices will be holding workshops for members on
how to write a resume and how to engage in an interview. They also will
have staff available to answer questions.
Q. Is there a place I can secure help if I’ve been repeatedly
unsuccessful in obtaining a transfer or a regular teaching position
after being excessed?
A. Upon request you’ll be able to receive individualized assistance
from the DOE’s Division of Human Resources and/or the UFT’s Peer
Intervention Program on how to maximize your chances of success in
being selected for a transfer.