DOE Mum On School Excessing
Three young girls sat on the corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 125 Street selling lemonade and iced tea on a hot weekend afternoon, not to make money for some game they perceived that they needed dearly, but to give to PS 114 so that their beloved sixth grade teacher, Miss Licari could be saved from being excessed from the school.
And, while the Department of Education said on Wednesday, the last day of school, that a list of those teachers who have been excessed from their jobs “has not been finalized,” it is clear from a quick poll of local teachers that at least four or five teachers will be gone from each of the Rockaway schools in September.
What does being excessed mean?
According to Margie Feinberg, a longtime spokesperson for the DOE, “Schools excess in order of seniority and they cannot hire new teachers in the same license area. Schools can hire new teachers in different license areas. For example, a school may decide to excess a teacher with a license in Common Branches and then hire a new teacher with a license in Special Education. Schools receive their budget at the end of June and make school level decisions about which staff they are keeping and which staff to excess. Each principal makes the budget decisions he or she feels are in the best interests of their school and its students.”
When asked specifically how many teachers had been excessed from individual Rockaway schools, Feinberg’s answer was “The numbers are still being finalized as the schools firm up their budgets for the next school year.”
Parents say, however, that teachers received excess notices at least a week ago and that some of the best teachers in the school, those with several years of seniority and excellent evaluations, are being lost.
Those teachers who are excessed have to find other jobs through the DOE’s job pool.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing for a law that would allow the DOE to fire any excessed teacher who has not found a permanent position in another school within a year.
Experts say, however, that it is difficult for even the best excessed teacher to find a job because they cost principals significantly more than a newly-minted teacher.
Just last week, the Department of Education announced that it was going to hire more than 1,000 new teachers from Teach America and teaching fellows coming from other professions.
Locals wonder how the DOE can excess experienced teachers who have preformed well in the classroom because they say there is no longer room for them at their schools and then bring in more than 1,000 new teachers.
DOE officials say that there is no certain timetable for completing the list of those teachers who have been excessed, and that the issue might still be unsettled days before school opens.