City paying for out-of-work teachers

April 29, 2008 4:43:01 PM PDT
New York City is paying $81 million over two years in salaries and benefits for teachers who have been laid off by school closings and have yet to be hired by another school.The teachers are part of the so-called reserve pool, which is an outgrowth of the citys contract with the teachers union.

The reserve pool was a trade off in contract talks to end seniority rights as well as the automatic transfer of teachers who had been cut because of shrinking enrollment.

At the time, Chancellor Joel Klein said he would rather absorb the cost of the teachers in the reserve pool than saddle principals with teachers they did not want.

Under the contract, teachers whose positions have been eliminated and cannot find another job, are assigned as substitute teachers or temporary replacements. They collect full teacher salary and benefits.

Since 2006 contract, more than 600 teachers have been placed in the reserve after failing to find new positions, according to the New Teacher Project, which recruits and trains teachers for school systems.

Union President Randi Weingarten says the Teachers Project is an excuse to blame teachers who have lost their jobs.