Posts tagged "layoffs"
January 23, 2013
The collapse of teacher evaluation talks comes with many costs, but teacher layoffs won’t be among them, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today.
The Department of Education is set to forgo $240 million in increased state school aid after it failed to agree on a new evaluation system with the teachers union by a state deadline last week. State officials have since said the city will have to go without far more funding until it adopts a new evaluation system.
But during a radio appearance today, Walcott said teacher layoffs are not on the table. ”We’re not looking at layoffs,” he told host John Gambling, whose show has been a forum for city, union, and state officials to stake their positions in the conflict. (more…)
November 16, 2011
In the GothamSchools Community section, Washington Heights special education teacher Brent Nycz describes how his elementary school coped after losing three of its six school aides and its family worker to layoffs last month. The departures came after three years of budget cuts that have left teachers squeezed and students without essential help, he writes.
The first few days after the layoffs left my school in a state of confusion. I heard rumors from the staff that the school was waiting for an influx of more senior school aides to fill in positions, but no one new came. …
The cafeteria that was once run by school aides is now run by every out-of-classroom, non-cluster staff member, regardless of position. Both the school psychologist and the school social worker complain about having to cover lunch duty for one period each day, leaving both of them scrambling for time to finish a plethora of new referrals. I’ve seen more of the IEP teacher with my students in the cafeteria than providing IEP support.
Nowadays, our school has adjusted to the loss of the school aides just as we have adjusted to the loss of resources and staff members over the last couple of years. With the loss of any staff member with no replacement, the staff picks up more tasks and our jobs get harder. We lose more time to focus on our teaching practice and helping our students.
Today, District Council 37, the union that represents the laid-off aides, is filing suit over the layoffs. The suit, which the union announced on Monday, argues that the Department of Education acted in bad faith during its negotiations with DC-37 over the jobs and did not give the City Council or principals a chance to stave off the layoffs. It also argues that the DOE violated state law by conducting layoffs that disproportionately affected schools with many poor students.
November 14, 2011
The union that represents school aides is suing to roll back layoffs of nearly 650 members that took place last month.
Lawyers for District Council 37, which includes school aides and parent coordinators, plan to file a lawsuit over the layoffs on Wednesday, according to a press release the union just sent out.
The suit will argue that the Department of Education acted in bad faith during its negotiations with DC-37 over the jobs, declining to consider other ways to save money or considering whether the City Council and principals might pitch in with their funds. It will also argue that the DOE violated state law by conducting layoffs that disproportionately affected schools with many poor students.
Principals chose to cut school aide positions over the summer as they hammered out slimmed-down budgets for this year, and the layoffs took place in October after charged negotiations between DC-37 and the city failed. (more…)
October 7, 2011
For many parents at Marta Valle High School, Cliftonia Johnson, a school aide, was the first line of defense when their children cut class.
Johnson, 48, has spent two years at the Lower East Side School, where she works as a community associate, taking attendance and communicating with families of students who skip school—a job that sometimes requires calling hundreds of parents on the phone each week.
She was one of close to 700 public school aides laid off today because of city budget cuts.
Speaking this afternoon in front of City Hall at the latest of several rallies that District Council-37 union workers have held this month to denounce the district-wide layoffs, Johnson said her position is invaluable to her school community:
“These high school kids barely come to school. It’s tough to get them to go to school because a lot of them don’t believe they’re worthy of an education, and you need someone who looks like them to tell them they are worthy,” she said.
Johnson, who is black, echoed union criticisms that the layoffs disproportionally targeted people of color, to the detriment of school communities with substantial minority populations. “If you take our [outreach] away, you’re making it worse. ” (more…)
October 5, 2011
City Council members, union officials, and parents spent yesterday agitating for a last-minute deal to avert layoffs planned for more than 700 school aides.
But Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said this morning that nothing could be done now to avert the layoffs, set to go into effect on Friday.
“DC-37 layoffs will still happen. I’ve been very consistent about that. It’s unfortunate but it’s the reality of the budget situation we face now,” he told reporters after a breakfast to honor the nonprofit organization PENCIL.
“I’ve tried not to send out mixed signals to DC-37,” Walcott said. “The reality is Friday will be the last day for roughly 700 individuals who are members of DC-37.”
Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street protesters joined the rally to support the school aides. But DC-37 is not among the many city unions participating in this afternoon’s massive Occupy Wall Street rally, according to a list posted on the protest movement’s website.
October 4, 2011
Using new strategies, City Council members are mounting a final push to stave off the school aide layoffs that are scheduled to take place at the end of the week.
Speaker Christine Quinn spoke to Mayor Bloomberg today about the layoffs, according to a Quinn spokesman, who said she plans to schedule a joint public hearing with the Finance and Education Committees to find out more about the scale of the proposed cuts. The DOE has maintained that the layoffs would save at least $38 million, but union officials dispute that total.
“By our calculations, it should be closer to $22 and $25 million,” said District Council 37′s Local 372 president Santos Crespo at a press conference today. The event brought dozens of union and elected officials out in support of Crespo’s union workers. It was then followed by a larger rally this evening that attracted Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Quinn’s announcement comes just days after the Black, Latino and Asian caucus discussed the option following a meeting with Chancellor Dennis Walcott in which little progress was made. Quinn has kept the issue at arms length up to this point, but inveighed against any future teacher layoffs last month on the first day of school.
Crespo, who has offered three concession proposals to Walcott, said the council’s intervention is the union’s best option at this point.
“What’s going to make [the DOE] respond is going to be the City Council. If that happens, then we’ll get to the bottom of this and see where the money is really going.” (more…)
September 27, 2011
With the deadline to prevent layoffs of hundreds of school aides nearing, a familiar player is being introduced to help break up an impasse on negotiations.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has already rejected one proposal by DC-37 and its affiliate Local 372, which represent the aides, has accepted an invitation to meet with members of the council “discuss the issue pertaining to the DC37 layoffs,” according to an email sent out to the members today. The meeting is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon.
Union officials are hoping that the City Council, which successfully brokered the deal to save more than 4,000 teacher layoffs in June, can once again come up with a solution to save jobs.
One tool the council won’t have is money; while the fight to prevent teacher layoffs took place before the 2012 budget was finalized, now all of the council’s funds have been committed.
“I assume this meeting is an attempt to help resolve some of the issues preventing an agreement between the union and the DOE,” said an aide for one of the council members who will attend the meeting.
The meeting is being convened by council members from the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. School aides are the lowest paid school employees and are disproportionately black and Latino.
So far, there has been no progress made in direct negotiations between union officials and the DOE, which announced lay offs of over 700 employees last month. At the time, DOE officials said that DC-37 employees were targeted because they were not willing to agree to budget concessions earlier in the summer. But talks reopened earlier this month and Walcott has said he continues to be open to more proposals. (more…)
September 15, 2011
Hundreds of Department of Education employees doomed to lose their jobs next month might not be laid off after all.
Talks to avert the layoffs of 737 school aides were rekindled this afternoon between the DOE and labor officials representing the employees, according to union officials who are directly involved in the negotiations.
“I can tell you that we made significant proposals to see if we can prevent these layoffs,” said one of the sources, who requested anonymity because negotiations were ongoing. “I feel very positive about the meeting today.”
The layoffs to non-pedagogical school staff were abruptly announced last month by the DOE and came after the city blamed the employees’ unions for not providing “any real savings that could have saved these jobs.”
The layoffs caught union leaders at DC-37, the city’s largest municipal union and its affiliate Local 372 off guard. Local 372 President Santos Crespo, who said he attended this afternoon’s meeting, criticized the layoffs as political and being too heavily concentrated in the city’s poor and minority communities.
The drama over layoffs at the Department of Education has persisted since last year, when Mayor Bloomberg first announced that thousands of teachers’ jobs would have to be cut because of widening gaps in the budget. Those talks temporarily ceased in late June, however, when the teachers union agreed to concessions in an eleventh hour deal to avert the layoffs. (more…)
September 7, 2011
The city should rethink the money used on outside consultants to save the jobs of the school aides, health workers, and parent coordinators who help schools function from the inside.
That was the message delivered by members of DC-37, parents, teachers, activists, and elected officials during a protest on the steps of Tweed Courthouse today against the impending layoffs of nearly 800 school workers, most of them DC-37 members. The cuts – announced Aug. 15 – are slated to take effect in October.
Noah Gotbaum, who is on the District 3 Community Education Council and a parent of three public school children, said the loss of parent coordinators is a significant setback. “One of the only things Bloomberg did right is creating the position of parent coordinator, and now he’s kicking them off,” he said.
Other parents said they were most concerned about how the layoffs would affect their children. “What about the safety of our children in the lunchroom? In the courtyard? In the hallways? On the buses?” asked Muba Yarofulani, a parent activist who has a chld and the parent of an eighth grader. “Safety is very important and the less school aides we have, the less schools are safe for our children.”
August 23, 2011
Budget cuts caused principals to cut thousands of positions this year, but the total number of teachers without permanent jobs rose only slightly, the Department of Education revealed today.
The Bloomberg administration also announced plans to lay off nearly 800 school employees who do not belong to the teachers union, which negotiated a deal in June to avert layoffs. Most of those employees — 737 of 777 — belong to DC-37, which represents school aides and other auxiliary school personnel. The layoffs are set to start in October.
When the city announced in July that schools would have to cut an average of 2.43 percent from their budgets, many principals complained that they had little fat to trim. They said they would have to turn to eliminating necessary positions and sending junior teachers to the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers whose positions were cut or lost as a result of school closures or enrollment changes.
In the end, they sent 2,186 teachers to the ATR pool this summer. More than a thousand of those teachers have already left the pool, either by finding new positions or leaving the system. A DOE spokeswoman said many of the teachers were rehired by their original schools after funding became available to keep them there.
That leaves 1,940 teachers in the ATR pool with just weeks before the start of the school year. Last year, the pool contained 1,779 teachers just before classes began.
Though small, the growth in the size of the ATR pool still places added financial stress on the department. (more…)