Bill S95-2011

Establishes the "keep effective and excellent professionals in the classroom act"; relates to procedures for the abolition of teaching positions; repealers

Establishes the "keep effective and excellent professionals in the classroom act"; relates to procedures for the abolition of teaching positions in city school districts of cities having one million or more inhabitants.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • Mar 24, 2011: NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - WITHDRAWN
  • Feb 22, 2011: NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S95

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to the retaining quality teachers and teachers in shortage subject areas when teaching positions are eliminated in city school districts of cities having one million or more inhabitants; and to repeal certain provisions of the education law relating thereto

PURPOSE: Establishes procedures regarding the retention of quality teachers and teachers in shortage subject areas in instances when teaching positions are eliminated in certain school districts.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Short Title "The Keep Effective and Excellent Professionals in the Classroom Act".

Section 2: Amends Section 2588 of the Education Law regarding the abolition of positions to include city school districts of cities with one million people or more.

Section 3: Repeals section 2588 (3) of the Education Law and adds a new subdivision 3. Provides that a school principal shall make decisions concerning which staff and positions are to be abolished after considering the recommendations of a school-based committee. Such committee shall be comprised of administrators, teachers and parents. Specifies the factors to be considered when determining which positions and staff shall be abolished. Establishes guidelines for the continuation and termination of employment for certain positions.

Section 4: Repeals Section 2588 (4) of the Education Law and adds a new subdivision 4. Establishes procedures regarding the filling of vacancies.

Section 5: Repeals Section 2588 (7) of the Education Law.

Section 6: Amends section 3013 of the Education Law. Exempts teaching or supervisory positions in city school districts in cities with one million inhabitants or more.

Section 7: Effective Date

JUSTIFICATION: Currently, whenever school districts eliminate positions, state law requires that the newest teachers in the entire district be the first fired. Because layoffs must be made without regard to teacher quality and based solely on seniority, school districts facing serious budget cuts could lose an entire generation of new teachers. It is well-documented that teacher quality is paramount when it comes to student achievement, and the existing statute means that great educators may be lost while ineffective teachers are retained.

Moreover, because new teachers have the lowest salaries in the system, the current requirements mean that more teachers have to be eliminated to meet the same budget reduction targets than if layoffs were determined on merit and the salaries of excessed teachers reflected the general distribution of teacher salaries. Layoffs made under the existing statute would create unnecessarily high spikes in class sizes and student-teacher ratios, issues that have been a longstanding priority for the Legislature.

The "last hired, first fired" requirement for large cities particularly creates substantial disparities between communities, with those that have a preponderance of new teachers forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of layoffs. In New York City, where as many as 8,500 teaching positions may be eliminated, Community School District 7 in the South Bronx and District 2 in Manhattan stand to lose 21% and 19%, respectively, of their teaching personnel, while District 31 in Staten Island would lose just 5%. Three out of five of the New York City community school districts facing the highest percentage of layoffs are in the South Bronx.

Additionally, the last hired, first fired requirement, because it applies to the City as a whole, makes it virtually impossible for individual schools to eliminate positions due to enrollment decreases, or for schools to be closed for academic failure, without engaging in "bumping" throughout the system. This game of musical chairs would displace teachers in schools across the City.

To avoid this operational chaos, the City of New York maintains an "Absent Teacher Reserve," in which teachers whose positions are eliminated because of excessing in individual schools continue to receive full salaries and benefits indefinitely, regardless of whether they find a new, permanent teaching assignment. (This is distinct from the "rubber room," for teachers removed for incompetence or malfeasance.) While most of these teachers do find a new assignment in short order, Some remain in the ATR pool for more than a year, either unable or Unmotivated to find a new position. As a result, the City of New York currently spends more than $110 million annually on salaries and benefits for teachers in the ATR pool. This is unacceptable in the current fiscal climate and particularly objectionable at a time when active, effective teachers face layoffs.

The proposed legislation would, in instances of citywide teacher layoffs in cities with populations over 1,000,000, allow layoffs to be made at a consistent rate across all communities and schools and would enable principals, in conjunction with committees of teachers, parents and administrators, to determine which positions to eliminate. Such determinations would be based on school needs for particular license areas and, when more than one person holds a position within the same license area, on the following criteria: significant relevant contributions accomplishments, or performance; relevant supplemental professional experiences as demonstrated on the job; office o~ school needs including curriculum specialized education, degrees, licenses or areas of expertise; and length of satisfactory service.

The legislation would enable schools and communities to share the burden of layoffs equally, and ensure that the most effective teachers and those in shortage subject areas would be retained. In such a scenario, teachers without assignments could be excessed before teachers in schools, depending on the determination of the chancellor.

The legislation would also put a one-year cap on guaranteed salary and benefits for teachers who lose their positions due to school-based excessing or school closures. The proposal mirrors a policy instituted by Chicago under the leadership of Arne Duncan, the current U.S. Secretary of Education. This would still enable teachers to receive a full year of undiminished compensation, while creating a greater incentive for teachers to find new assignments and substantially reducing the fiscal burden on the city school district.

The Center of American Progress, a progressive, Washington-based think tank, recently wrote: "These stakes are particularly high for disadvantaged students, who depend far more on educators to teach them what they need to know. Some researchers have found that if a low income student has a highly effective teacher for three years in a row, the student can perform just as well as middle-class peers. This can potentially erase the achievement gap between these groups." This legislation would make state law consistent with the objective of ensuring all that students have access to high-quality teachers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.7346 - Referred to Education/A.10482A - Referred to Education

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 95 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. DIAZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the retaining quality teachers and teachers in shortage subject areas when teaching posi- tions are eliminated in city school districts of cities having one million or more inhabitants; and to repeal certain provisions of the education law relating thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "the keep effective and excellent professionals in the classroom act". S 2. The section heading of section 2588 of the education law, as added by chapter 521 of the laws of 1976, is amended to read as follows: Seniority, retention and displacement rights in connection with aboli- tion of positions in city school districts of cities having [more than] one million inhabitants OR MORE. S 3. Subdivision 3 of section 2588 of the education law is REPEALED and a new subdivision 3 is added to read as follows: 3. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WHENEVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSITIONS CITYWIDE AS A RESULT OF A CITYWIDE BUDGET REDUCTION IN ACCORD- ANCE WITH PARAGRAPH B OF SUBDIVISION FIVE-A OF SECTION TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX OF THIS ARTICLE AND THE MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK. (I) DECISIONS CONCERNING WHICH POSITIONS WITHIN INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS ARE TO BE ABOLISHED, AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE ABOLISHED, AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID OFF, SHALL BE MADE BY THE PRINCIPAL, CONSISTENT WITH GUIDANCE PROMULGAT- ED BY THE CHANCELLOR PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. THE PRINCIPAL SHALL MAKE THE DECISION AFTER CONSIDERING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF A SCHOOL-BASED
COMMITTEE COMPRISED OF TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PARENTS. THE FOLLOW- ING FACTORS SHALL BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHICH POSITIONS SHALL BE ABOLISHED AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID OFF: (A) SCHOOL NEEDS FOR PARTICULAR LICENSE AREAS; AND (B) WHEN MORE THAN ONE PERSON HOLDS A POSITION WITHIN THE SAME LICENSE AREA: SIGNIFICANT RELEVANT CONTRIBUTIONS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, OR PERFORMANCE OF EACH SUCH PERSON; RELEVANT SUPPLEMENTAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES OF EACH SUCH PERSON AS DEMONSTRATED ON THE JOB; OFFICE OR SCHOOL NEEDS, INCLUDING: CURRICULUM SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, DEGREES, LICENSES OR AREAS OF EXPER- TISE; AND LENGTH OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE BY EACH SUCH PERSON. (II) IN THE CASE OF TEACHERS OR SUPERVISORS WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO POSI- TIONS THAT ARE NOT WITHIN INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS, OR WHO HAVE BEEN DISCI- PLINED PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER AND ARE NOT ASSIGNED TO A FULL-TIME POSITION, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER THE PERSON WILL BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCELLOR. (B) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WHEN- EVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSI- TIONS AT INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS IN ORDER TO MEET SCHOOL BUDGETARY NEEDS, REORGANIZE FUNCTIONS, OR FOR OTHER COMPELLING REASONS, OUTSIDE OF A CITYWIDE REDUCTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION, DECISIONS CONCERNING WHICH POSITIONS ARE TO BE ABOLISHED SHALL BE MADE BY THE PRINCIPAL, CONSISTENT WITH GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCELLOR PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. THE PRINCIPAL SHALL MAKE THE DECISION AFTER CONSIDERING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF A SCHOOL-BASED COMMITTEE COMPRISED OF TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PARENTS. THE FOLLOWING FACTORS SHALL BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHICH POSITIONS SHALL BE ABOLISHED AND WHICH PERSONS OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS ARE TO BE LAID OFF: (I) SCHOOL NEEDS FOR PARTICULAR LICENSE AREAS; AND (II) WHEN MORE THAN ONE PERSON HOLDS A POSITION WITHIN THE SAME LICENSE AREA: SIGNIFICANT RELEVANT CONTRIB- UTIONS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, OR PERFORMANCE OF EACH SUCH PERSON; RELEVANT SUPPLEMENTAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES OF EACH SUCH PERSON AS DEMON- STRATED ON THE JOB; OFFICE OR SCHOOL NEEDS, INCLUDING: CURRICULUM SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, DEGREES, LICENSES OR AREAS OF EXPERTISE; AND LENGTH OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE BY EACH SUCH PERSON. A TEACHER OR SUPER- VISOR WHOSE POSITION IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO REMAIN EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT WITH NO DIMINUTION IN SALARY OR BENEFITS FOR ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE UPON WHICH THE PERSON'S POSITION WAS ABOLISHED, PROVIDED THAT (A) IF THE PERSON IS A NON-TENURED EMPLOY- EE, THE PERSON'S PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY; (B) IF THE PERSON IS A TENURED EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY OR RECEIVED A PENALTY OF TERMINATION IN PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER; AND (C) SHOULD CITYWIDE LAYOFFS IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION BE CARRIED OUT DURING THIS ONE-YEAR PERIOD, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER THE PERSON WILL BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCEL- LOR. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAWS TO THE CONTRARY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY AND THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER, AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR WHO REMAINS EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL BE TERMINATED AUTOMATICALLY UNLESS THE TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR HAS BEEN REGULARLY APPOINTED TO A NON-SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE DISTRICT. (C) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WHEN- EVER THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ABOLISHES TEACHING POSITIONS DUE TO THE CLOSURE OR PHASE-OUT OF A SCHOOL, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR WHOSE POSITION IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO REMAIN
EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT WITH NO DIMINUTION IN SALARY OR BENEFITS FOR ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE UPON WHICH THE TEACHER'S POSITION WAS ABOLISHED, PROVIDED THAT (I) IF THE PERSON IS A NON-TENURED EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON'S PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY; (II) IF THE PERSON IS A TENURED EMPLOYEE, THE PERSON HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY OR RECEIVED A PENALTY OF TERMINATION IN PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAPTER; AND (III) SHOULD CITYWIDE LAYOFFS IN ACCORD- ANCE WITH PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION BE CARRIED OUT DURING THIS ONE-YEAR PERIOD, THE CHANCELLOR SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER THE PERSON WILL BE LAID OFF PURSUANT TO GUIDANCE PROMULGATED BY THE CHANCELLOR. NOTWITH- STANDING ANY OTHER LAWS TO THE CONTRARY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SECTION THREE THOUSAND TWENTY AND THREE THOUSAND TWENTY-A OF THIS CHAP- TER, AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR, A TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR WHO REMAINS EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL BE TERMINATED AUTOMATICALLY UNLESS THE TEACHER OR SUPERVISOR HAS BEEN REGU- LARLY APPOINTED TO A NON-SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE DISTRICT. S 4. Subdivision 4 of section 2588 of the education law is REPEALED and a new subdivision 4 is added to read as follows: 4. WHENEVER A TEACHING POSITION IS ABOLISHED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION THREE OF THIS SECTION, SHOULD A VACANCY OCCUR IN THE SAME POSITION AT THE SAME SCHOOL OR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE DATE WHEN THE POSITION WAS ABOLISHED, THE PRINCIPAL, OR THE CHANCELLOR OR DESIGNEE, SHALL OFFER THE POSITION TO THE PERSON WHO HELD THE POSITION BEFORE IT WAS ABOLISHED. IF THE PERSON REJECTS THE OFFER, OR FAILS TO RESPOND TO THE OFFER WITHIN THIRTY DAYS, THE PERSON SHALL NO LONGER HAVE A RIGHT TO RETURN TO THE POSITION. IF MORE THAN ONE POSITION WAS ABOL- ISHED IN THE SAME LICENSE AREA AT THE SAME SCHOOL OR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, AND THERE ARE FEWER VACANCIES IN THE SAME LICENSE AREA THAN PERSONS WHOSE POSITIONS WERE ABOLISHED, THE PRINCIPAL, THE CHANCELLOR OR DESIGNEE, SHALL HAVE DISCRETION TO DETERMINE WHICH PERSON SHOULD BE OFFERED THE POSITION FIRST. S 5. Subdivision 7 of section 2588 of the education law is REPEALED. S 6. Section 3013 of the education law, as added by chapter 737 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: S 3013. Abolition of office or position. 1. [If] EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN CITIES WITH ONE MILLION INHABITANTS OR MORE, IF a trustee, board of trustees, board of education or board of cooperative educational services abol- ishes an office or position and creates another office or position for the performance of duties similar to those performed in the office or position abolished, the person filling such office or position at the time of its abolishment shall be appointed to the office or position thus created without reduction in salary or increment, provided the record of such person has been one of faithful, competent service in the office or position he or she has filled. 2. [Whenever] EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN CITIES WITH ONE MILLION INHABITANTS OR MORE, WHENEVER a trustee, board of [trustee] TRUSTEES, board of education or board of cooperative educational services abolishes a position under this chapter, the services of the teacher having the least seniority in the system within the tenure of the position abolished shall be discon- tinued. 3. (a) [If] EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN CITIES WITH ONE MILLION INHABITANTS OR MORE, IF an office or position is abolished or if it is consolidated with another position without creating a new position, the person filling such posi-
tion at the time of its abolishment or consolidation shall be placed upon a preferred eligible list of candidates for appointment to a vacan- cy that then exists or that may thereafter occur in an office or posi- tion similar to the one which such person filled without reduction in salary or increment, provided the record of such person has been one of faithful, competent service in the office or position he or she has filled. The persons on such preferred list shall be reinstated or appointed to such vacancies in such corresponding or similar positions in the order of their length of service in the system at any time within seven years from the date of abolition or consolidation of such office or position. (b) The persons on such preferred list shall be reinstated, in accord- ance with the terms of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, to such substitute positions of five months or more in duration, as may from time to time occur without losing their preferred status on such list. Declination of such reinstatement shall not adversely affect the persons' preferred eligibility status. 4. IN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF CITIES WITH ONE MILLION INHABITANTS OR MORE, ABOLITION OF TEACHING OR SUPERVISORY OFFICES OR POSITIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY-EIGHT OF THIS CHAPTER. S 7. This act shall take effect immediately.

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