2011-03-04 / Front Page

DOE To Toss More Than 100 Local Teachers

Newer, Smaller Schools Impacted Most
By Howard Schwach

PS 43 in Edgemere, which has both a regular education school and a special education unit, stands to lose the most new teachers of any school on the peninsula. PS 43 in Edgemere, which has both a regular education school and a special education unit, stands to lose the most new teachers of any school on the peninsula. The New York City Department of Education plans to lay off more than 100 Rockaway teachers if the state does not allocate more education funding to the city, officials said on Sunday.

The layoffs, totaling 4,675 citywide, six percent of the active teachers, is a worstcase scenario dictated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an attempt to balance the city’s massive budget.

City officials say that the layoffs might never materialize, but are an indication of how disruptive the cuts would be to all of the city’s communities.

According to the list released late last weekend, some Rockaway schools would lose as many as 10 teachers, while others would lose none.

The number depends on how many recent hires each school has made, and city officials estimate that, under the last in-first out contract mandate, most teachers who have been teaching for fewer than five years would lose their jobs, to be replaced by more senior teachers who had been excessed from other schools.

For example, PS 43 on Beach 28 Street would lose 11 of its 99 teachers, more than 10 percent of its staff. The Waterside Children’s Studio School, a new school within PS 225 in Rockaway Park, would lose 10 of 28 teachers, nearly 30 percent of its staff. Its new sister school, The Waterside School for Leadership, would lose four of its 11 teachers, more than one third.

The Goldie Maple Academy in Arverne, a school that was redesigned a few years ago and has many new teachers, would lose eight of 41 teachers.

Board officials say that the list does not necessarily reflect the number of teaching positions a school would lose, but rather the absolute number of teachers who would be laid off.

Some of the newer schools, for example, might retain teaching positions but would have to hire new, more experienced teachers to replace those new teachers that were laid off.

Those teachers would come from other schools where they had been excessed and from the teacher pool of those who worked in schools that had been closed.

This process, called “bumping,” by teachers, has been opposed by the mayor and his advisors as poor planning.

They want the state legislature to end the mandated last in-first out procedure so that principals can keep those teachers who are best for the school program, regardless of seniority.

Others, however, argue that principals would then have an incentive to fire senior teachers no matter how good they are simply because the principal can hire two young teachers for the cost of one more-experienced teacher.

According to the DOE, the great majority of those teachers who are laid off will be from music, art and physical education programs, with teachers of special education and English as a second language saved by the fact that there are few such teachers available.

The DOE breakdown says that 15 percent of the music, art and physical education teachers in the city would be cut, nine percent of the elementary/ common branch teachers, nine percent of social studies teachers, six percent of English teachers and three percent of mathematics teachers will face the knife.

Several local schools were called for comment on this story, but all declined, stating that the Department of Education press office would have to comment.

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