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"Excessed" Teachers Cost N.Y.C. $74 million

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Teacher shortage? Not in New York City, where 1,000 "excessed" teachers will go without jobs in the 2008-09 school year while receiving full pay and benefits at a cost of $74 million to the school district.

These teachers are the fallout of a new hiring policy in the city that allows school administrators to hire teachers that are a good fit regardless of seniority, according to an updated version of a report released by the New Teacher Project. The excessed teachers are those who lose their jobs as a result of schools downsizing and closing. The teachers are then placed in a reserve pool and have to apply for new jobs themselves, because under the new policy, they are no longer assigned jobs by the central office. Read our story on the original report here.

The New Teacher Project has lauded the changes in the hiring policy, but has been urging the district to make some changes, like placing nontenured teachers on unpaid leave if they are unable to find a job within three months. Tenured teachers would have one year to find a job before they went on unpaid leave.

In a letter to Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten dated Sept. 19, the president of the New Teacher Project, Timothy Daly, said his organization is reissuing the report with updated data because the problem has only grown in the months since it was first released.

Most of the excessed teachers, who work as substitutes and other temporary replacements, are tenured. But, the report says, there is no requirement that these teachers even find a job. In fact, it points out, more than 14,000 teaching positions in New York City were filled during the period when these teachers did not find jobs.

The UFT had slammed the report when it was first released in April this year, saying the experienced teachers lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The union also criticized the New Teacher Project as a "wholly owned subsidiary" of the city's education department because the project runs the New York Teaching Fellows program that has hired more than 8,000 teachers for the city.

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