Posts tagged "scott buchheit"
July 10, 2012
Legal battles between the city and the United Federation of Teachers are typically long, drawn-out affairs. Not today.
In just 40 minutes this afternoon, Judge Joan Lobis of the New York State Supreme Court made up her mind about the city’s request to suspend an arbitrator’s ruling in the UFT’s favor while she considers the city’s formal appeal. There will be no restraining order, Lobis ruled.
That means that hiring and firing decisions that have been made at 24 struggling schools that the city was trying to overhaul will be reversed. The Department of Education will have to reinstate hundreds — and possibly thousands — of teachers and administrators cut loose from the schools as part of the “turnaround” process.
“They no longer have an excuse for not complying with the arbitrator’s award,” Ross said about the city.
Asked by reporters about the education department’s immediate plans for allowing the teachers to reclaim their positions, Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said, “Talk to the law department.”
The city’s top lawyer, Michael Cardozo, said in a statement that he was confident that Lobis would side with the city as the case moves forward.
The hearing was a first step in the city’s appeal of a ruling handed down two weeks ago by an arbitrator who found that the city’s hiring and firing decisions — a key aspect of the Department of Education’s turnaround plans — violated the city’s contract with the teachers union. (more…)
July 9, 2012
It’s summer break, so Stuyvesant High School students probably weren’t listening to the radio at 7 a.m. today.
But if they were, 69 of them would have found out from Chancellor Dennis Walcott that they will have to retake the end-of-year Spanish exams they took last month. That’s the number of students that Department of Education investigators concluded had received exam questions in advance via a text message from a classmate.
Walcott announced during an appearance on the John Gambling Show that also touched on the schools thrown into limbo by an arbitrator’s ruling last month and the Department of Education’s new focus on college readiness.
The first phase of the investigation, conducted by the department’s internal Office of Special Investigations, looked only at student behavior and meted out punishments, including some suspensions, according to the city’s discipline code, Walcott said.
The next phase, he said, is to look at whether Stuyvesant’s principal, Stanley Teitel, and his staff followed the appropriate protocol after learning about the cheating on the city exams. “We have to look at the process,” Walcott said. “Once the allegation was made, what happened after that?”
Teitel sent a letter to parents June 20 alerting them to the cheating and informing them that students suspected of cheating would lose some privileges, such as the right to leave campus for lunch. But the city did not find out about the cheating allegations for nearly a week after that letter went home. (more…)
July 6, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s testimony before an arbitrator drove one nail into the coffin of the city’s plans to replace or rehire teachers at 24 “turnaround” schools.
Last week an arbitrator determined that the city violated the city’s contracts with the teachers and principals unions when it moved to replace staff members at the schools. This afternoon the arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, released a detailed explanation of why he ruled the way he did.
The city was trying to use hiring procedures set for closing schools and their replacements. But the unions argued that the turnaround plans were “sham closures” that would not result in new schools. Instead, they argued, the city was unfairly using contractual provisions about “excessing” to remove teachers and administrators it deemed unsatisfactory.
In upholding the unions’ grievance, Buchheit at times turns Bloomberg’s and other city officials’ words against them.
He quotes a 2011 memorandum written by the Department of Education’s chief financial officer, which said, “excessing is not a permissible way to deal with unsatisfactory teachers.”
Yet city officials said they intended to do just that from the start of the turnaround process, Buchheit determined. (more…)
July 3, 2012
The city’s case for reinstating thousands of hiring decisions at 24 struggling schools relies on the argument that an arbitrator should never have considered reversing them in the first place.
Since January, the city has been trying to carry out a controversial overhaul process known as “turnaround” at the schools. To follow state and federal rules about staffing in turnaround schools, the city had to engineer what amounted to overnight school closures. But the UFT and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators argued that the changes were “sham closures” designed for political ends and so did not qualify the city to use the staffing rules it had invoked. On Friday, an arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, agreed with the unions.
The city voluntarily entered into the arbitration process in May at a State Supreme Court judge’s urging in order to speed the resolution of the unions’ complaint. Buchheit is one of several arbitrators that the city and teachers union have jointly agreed should hear contractual disputes.
But in a suite of legal papers filed late Monday, the city suggests that the Buchheit should have declined to consider the unions’ complaints. The main petition says that city lawyers argued to Buchheit that he should toss out the grievances before him because the union contracts did not define closure; arbitrators are barred from superseding state laws; and the Department of Education cannot bargain away power over classroom standards.
But Buchheit didn’t listen, so his ruling should be overturned, the petition says. (more…)