Posts tagged "school aides"
May 15, 2013
A pair of Department of Education employees were separately warned this week for breaking city ethics laws, according to letters released today by an ethics board.
In one case, a special education teacher, Faith Walters, used names of 15 former students without permission in a book she published in 2011. The letter doesn’t name the book, but it appears to fit the description of a poetry book that sells on paperback for $15.99 on Amazon. The name of the author of the 67-page book is also Faith Walters and she describes herself as a New York City special education teacher.
In the book’s description, Walters said she was inspired by an experience she had when she first started teaching:
The memory of my first day of teaching will forever be in my mind of having an almost fatal experience of losing one of my eyes because of a flying chair that hit the wall just as I opened the classroom door of 15 students who appeared to be very angry and fearful. (more…)
January 29, 2013
Schools won’t have to cut their budgets this month, but they will have to start tightening their belts and won’t be able to sock away any savings for next year.
That’s what Chancellor Dennis Walcott told principals in an email sent Monday evening, the first to name specific actions the Department of Education is taking to make up for $240 in state school aid sacrificed when the city and teachers union failed to agree on new teacher evaluations earlier this month.
Mayor Bloomberg is set to offer details about his plans to close the midyear school budget gap at a press conference later today. But Walcott said the department would absorb enough of the cuts centrally that he would not have to impose cuts of a certain size on each school, as happened several times during the leanest years of the economic recession.
Still, he announced several significant policy changes that could cost schools just the same. The department is doubling down on hiring restrictions, blocking schools from hiring substitute teachers, reducing aides’ schedules, and seizing funds that principals had set aside in this year’s budget for next year. (more…)
November 21, 2011
In the Community section last week, teacher Brent Nycz said his sense of loss after his school lost four aides to layoffs was mitigated only by rumors that the aides could get by without their meager salaries.
In response, a commenter identifying as a laid-off worker said being able to “collect” without working is little consolation for having to leave a meaningful job.
“Only those of us who work in a school and know the relationships you form with the children … understand how staying home while school continues without you is the most difficult thing to deal with,” the worker wrote. “This experience has been awful and I wake up everyday hoping to be called back and everyday I realize it’s never going to happen.”
It seems that some school aides might have gotten calls to come in to work— against labor rules. Last week’s edition of the Principals Weekly newsletter cautioned principals against trying to use the laid-off workers as substitute teachers. (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 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.”