2010-05-26 / Features

Teachers Face Layoffs, But New DOE Management Hired

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Klein said he was still hopeful of some federal money. “That would help us avoid layoffs, something we would very much like to avoid.” Klein said he was still hopeful of some federal money. “That would help us avoid layoffs, something we would very much like to avoid.” Schools Chancellor Joel Klein got a Bronx cheer in Queens last week.

“Right now, layoffs are based on the reverse order of seniority,” Klein said. “We think we need a more comprehensive method.” The statement prompted a prolonged and loud outburst of boos at Long Island City H.S. during the May 18 meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy.

Klein said “significant layoffs” of teachers for the 2010–2011 school year would result in negative consequences because layoffs are based on seniority. There could be as many as 4,400 teacher layoffs and 2,000 other teachers lost through attrition. The June 1 deadline for DOE’s $23 billion budget is in line with the June 30 deadline by which the city has to have a balanced budget in place. But without a state budget, there is uncertainty.

“There’s been no action in Albany,” Klein said. “We have to make [budget] plans between now and June 1.” Governor David Paterson has proposed a cut of $500 million in state aid for education to the city, but the legislature has not passed a budget.

“We have less than two weeks,” said Klein. “We won’t be able to make any further decisions [on layoffs] until Albany passes a budget.”

According to Gotham Schools, most teachers hired since 2007 will lose their jobs if the current DOE budget goes through. New York state law and the contract between the city and the union specify that the last hired are the first to go. In District 30, that means roughly 4 percent of 1,994 teachers, about 80 total.

Klein said he was still hopeful of some federal money. “That would help us avoid layoffs, something we would very much like to avoid.”

Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan representative for the Panel for Educational Policy, took issue with Klein on the teacher layoffs. “At a time when we may be looking at draconian cuts and laying off teachers, is it appropriate to be increasing the compensation of senior leaders that report to you and adding Sharon Greenberger to your staff?” he said. On April 27, Klein announced a new position, chief of community engagement, and appointed Santiago Taveras to the position at a salary of $199,000 a year, according to the New York Daily News.

It was also reported in the April 27 News article that Sharon Greenberger would leave her position as president of the School Construction Authority to assume a newly created position as chief executive officer in the DOE. The News reported her salary to be “at least $193,000”.

The News said Klein increased the number of deputy chancellors from three to eight, naming one, Marc Sternberg, a former principal, who was hired at $192,000. The News said three of the new deputy chancellors would get raises totaling $84,000.

“I do believe we significantly downsized the administrative team,” said Klein, adding, “I believe that in tough times we do need adequate management.”

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