Bill Would Allow Layoffs of Teachers With Seniority
Published: April 12, 2010
When the Bloomberg administration raised the prospect of teacher layoffs this year, administration officials complained that they would be forced to get rid of the youngest newest teachers, and called on legislators to rewrite the seniority rules.
That wish may be one step closer. Two Democratic state lawmakers have sponsored a bill that would give principals in New York City the power to choose who should lose their jobs if the city needs to lay off teachers because of budget cuts.
The bill is certain to raise the ire of teachers’ unions, which remain a powerful force in Albany. It could provoke also a new round of battles between the United Federation of Teachers and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who have had an icy relationship for months and are fighting over a new teachers’ contract.
Mr. Bloomberg has said that as many 8,500 teachers would face layoffs, as the city’s Education Department faces a budget cut of $600 million to $1.2 billion. Under the current law, teachers who have been in the system for the shortest amount of time would be the first to lose their jobs — a policy commonly known as last in, first out.
Last month, the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, released numbers showing that the layoffs would be concentrated in the one of the wealthiest and one of the poorest districts in the city: in a worst-case situation, District 7 in the South Bronx would lose 21 percent of its teachers and District 2 on the Upper East Side would lose 19 percent, according to the city analysis. Some of those teachers would be replaced by more-senior teachers from elsewhere in the system.
“Experience matters, but it cannot be the sole or even principal factor considered in layoff decisions,” Mr. Klein said in a statement. “We must be able to take into account each individual’s track record of success.”
Jonathan Bing, a Democratic assemblyman from the Upper East Side, said lobbyists from the city had approached him about sponsoring the bill soon after the city released those numbers.
“There needs to be some better way to go about doing this than to simply get rid of every teacher we have hired in the last few years,” Mr. Bing said. “This has to be, on some level, about merit.”
Mr. Bing said he had “great respect for teachers,” noted that the union had donated to several of his political campaigns and acknowledged that the bill would almost certainly anger it.
“We are in an educational and economic crisis like no other,” he added.
Under the bill, each school would form a committee of parents, teachers and administrators to determine who should be laid off.
Seniority protection is dear to labor unions, who say that without it, employers would use layoffs to eliminate workers who make the most money.
Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said that in other cities that had eliminated seniority, like Washington, the rate of teacher turnover had increased, making the system less stable.
“I would like to see something more fruitful to figure out how to avoid the catastrophic cuts,” Mr. Mulgrew said Monday.
The city appealed to State Senator Rubén Díaz of the Bronx to sponsor the bill in the Senate, although just last year Mr. Díaz said that Mr. Klein should be fired.
“I used to be angry at the way they were treating parents,” Mr. Díaz said. “Now this would allow parents to have a role. If a school needs to get rid of teachers, they should be able to decide their own special needs.”
3. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY,
11 WHENEVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY
12 POSITIONS CITYWIDE AS A RESULT OF A CITYWIDE BUDGET REDUCTION IN ACCORD-
13 ANCE WITH PARAGRAPH B OF SUBDIVISION FIVE-A OF SECTION TWENTY-FIVE
14 HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX OF THIS ARTICLE AND THE MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT
15 REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
16 (I) DECISIONS CONCERNING WHICH POSITIONS WITHIN INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS ARE
17 TO BE ABOLISHED, AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE
18 ABOLISHED, AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID
19 OFF, SHALL BE MADE BY THE PRINCIPAL, CONSISTENT WITH GUIDANCE PROMULGAT-
20 ED BY THE CHANCELLOR PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. THE PRINCIPAL SHALL MAKE
21 THE DECISION AFTER CONSIDERING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF A SCHOOL-BASED
22 COMMITTEE COMPRISED OF TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PARENTS. THE FOLLOW-
23 ING FACTORS SHALL BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHICH POSITIONS SHALL BE
24 ABOLISHED AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID OFF:
1 (A) SCHOOL NEEDS FOR PARTICULAR LICENSE AREAS; AND (B) WHEN MORE THAN
2 ONE PERSON HOLDS A POSITION WITHIN THE SAME LICENSE AREA: SIGNIFICANT
3 RELEVANT CONTRIBUTIONS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, OR PERFORMANCE OF EACH SUCH
4 PERSON; RELEVANT SUPPLEMENTAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES OF EACH SUCH
5 PERSON AS DEMONSTRATED ON THE JOB; OFFICE OR SCHOOL NEEDS, INCLUDING:
6 CURRICULUM SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, DEGREES, LICENSES OR AREAS OF EXPER-
7 TISE; AND LENGTH OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE BY EACH SUCH PERSON.
8 (II) IN THE CASE OF TEACHERS OR SUPERVISORS WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO POSI-
9 TIONS THAT ARE NOT WITHIN INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS, OR WHO HAVE BEEN DISCI-
10 PLINED PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER AND
11 ARE NOT ASSIGNED TO A FULL-TIME POSITION, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE
12 WHETHER THE PERSON WILL BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY
13 THE CHANCELLOR.
14 (B) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WHEN-
15 EVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSI-
16 TIONS AT INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS IN ORDER TO MEET SCHOOL BUDGETARY NEEDS,
17 REORGANIZE FUNCTIONS, OR FOR OTHER COMPELLING REASONS, OUTSIDE OF A
18 CITYWIDE REDUCTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION,
19 DECISIONS CONCERNING WHICH POSITIONS ARE TO BE ABOLISHED SHALL BE MADE
20 BY THE PRINCIPAL, CONSISTENT WITH GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCELLOR
21 PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. THE PRINCIPAL SHALL MAKE THE DECISION AFTER
22 CONSIDERING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF A SCHOOL-BASED COMMITTEE COMPRISED OF
23 TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PARENTS. THE FOLLOWING FACTORS SHALL BE
24 CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHICH POSITIONS SHALL BE ABOLISHED AND WHICH
25 PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID OFF: (I) SCHOOL NEEDS
26 FOR PARTICULAR LICENSE AREAS; AND (II) WHEN MORE THAN ONE PERSON HOLDS A
27 POSITION WITHIN THE SAME LICENSE AREA: SIGNIFICANT RELEVANT CONTRIB-
28 UTIONS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, OR PERFORMANCE OF EACH SUCH PERSON; RELEVANT
29 SUPPLEMENTAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES OF EACH SUCH PERSON AS DEMON-
30 STRATED ON THE JOB; OFFICE OR SCHOOL NEEDS, INCLUDING: CURRICULUM
31 SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, DEGREES, LICENSES OR AREAS OF EXPERTISE; AND
32 LENGTH OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE BY EACH SUCH PERSON.
A TEACHER OR SUPER-
33 VISOR WHOSE POSITION IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL BE
34 ELIGIBLE TO REMAIN EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT WITH NO DIMINUTION IN SALARY
35 OR BENEFITS FOR ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE UPON WHICH THE PERSON'S POSITION
36 WAS ABOLISHED, PROVIDED THAT (A) IF THE PERSON IS A NON-TENURED EMPLOY-
37 EE, THE PERSON'S PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY; (B) IF THE PERSON IS
38 A TENURED EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY OR
39 RECEIVED A PENALTY OF TERMINATION IN PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO SECTION
40 THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER; AND (C) SHOULD CITYWIDE LAYOFFS
41 IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION BE CARRIED OUT
42 DURING THIS ONE-YEAR PERIOD, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER THE
43 PERSON WILL BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCEL-
44 LOR. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAWS TO THE CONTRARY, INCLUDING BUT NOT
45 LIMITED TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY AND THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF
46 THIS CHAPTER, AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR
47 WHO REMAINS EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL
48 BE TERMINATED AUTOMATICALLY UNLESS THE TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR HAS BEEN
49 REGULARLY APPOINTED TO A NON-SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE DISTRICT.
50 (C) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WHEN-
51 EVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING POSITIONS DUE TO THE
52 CLOSURE OR PHASE-OUT OF A SCHOOL, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR WHOSE POSITION
53 IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO REMAIN
54 EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT WITH NO DIMINUTION IN SALARY OR BENEFITS FOR
55 ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE UPON WHICH THE TEACHER'S POSITION WAS ABOLISHED,
56 PROVIDED THAT (I) IF THE PERSON IS A NON-TENURED EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON'S
A. 10482--A 3
1 PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY; (II) IF THE PERSON IS A TENURED
2 EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY OR RECEIVED A
3 PENALTY OF TERMINATION IN PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND
4 TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER; AND (III) SHOULD CITYWIDE LAYOFFS IN ACCORD-
5 ANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION BE CARRIED OUT DURING THIS
6 ONE-YEAR PERIOD, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER THE PERSON WILL
7 BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCELLOR. NOTWITH-
8 STANDING ANY OTHER LAWS TO THE CONTRARY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
9 SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY AND THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAP-
10 TER, AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR WHO
11 REMAINS EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL BE
12 TERMINATED AUTOMATICALLY UNLESS THE TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR HAS BEEN REGU-
13 LARLY APPOINTED TO A NON-SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE DISTRICT.
14 S 4. Subdivision 4 of section 2588 of the education law is REPEALED
15 and a new subdivision 4 is added to read as follows:
16 4. WHENEVER A TEACHING POSITION IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION
17 THREE OF THIS SECTION, SHOULD A VACANCY OCCUR IN THE SAME POSITION AT
18 THE SAME SCHOOL OR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE DATE
19 WHEN THE POSITION WAS ABOLISHED, THE PRINCIPAL, OR THE CHANCELLOR OR
20 DESIGNEE, SHALL OFFER THE POSITION TO THE PERSON WHO HELD THE POSITION
21 BEFORE IT WAS ABOLISHED. IF THE PERSON REJECTS THE OFFER, OR FAILS TO
22 RESPOND TO THE OFFER WITHIN THIRTY DAYS, THE PERSON SHALL NO LONGER HAVE
23 A RIGHT TO RETURN TO THE POSITION. IF MORE THAN ONE POSITION WAS ABOL-
24 ISHED IN THE SAME LICENSE AREA AT THE SAME SCHOOL OR ADMINISTRATIVE
25 OFFICE, AND THERE ARE FEWER VACANCIES IN THE SAME LICENSE AREA THAN
26 PERSONS WHOSE POSITIONS WERE ABOLISHED, THE PRINCIPAL, THE CHANCELLOR OR
27 DESIGNEE, SHALL HAVE DISCRETION TO DETERMINE WHICH PERSON SHOULD BE
28 OFFERED THE POSITION FIRST.