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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hot Rumor From Chaz11: NYC DOE Tries To Get Rid of the Chapter 683 Program...To Save Money

Friday, March 15, 2013


Is The DOE Trying To Shortchange Special Education Students By Witholding Chapter 683 Money For The Summer?

It has come to my attention that many of the District 75 schools have informed their teachers that the DOE has not authorized the school's Administration to implement the Chapter 683 program.  The Chapter 683 program (Article Twelve, page 78 of the latest UFT/DOE contract) was originally implemented because the "best teachers" who worked with these needy children refused to work the summer (July and August) on per session pay.  Instead the Chapter 683 program was implemented to retain these teachers by increasing the teacher's salary by 17.5%, or double pay for the summer months.  Furthermore, the Chapter 683 program allowed the teacher to have more money taken out for their TDA which gives a guaranteed 8.25% annually.  While the guaranteed interest rate was reduced to 7% in December of 2009, it still is 5-6% more than you can get at a bank CD or money market fund.  Finally, it increased their annual pension by hundreds of dollars

The Chapter 683 program was a success as the"best teachers" who worked with their "high needs" students stayed with them during the summer.  This was a win-win for all parties.  The students kept their teacher who knew how to handle the child's unique problems throughout the summer and for a full, not part of a school day.  The teachers received "double pay" and could help fund their retirement. The school Administrator did not have to micromanage and worry about teachers who were unfamiliar with the students as they operated on a "trial and error" basis.  Oops, I forgot, there was one loser,Tweed, who had to hand out a couple of million dollars extra to fund the Chapter 683 program.

Over the years, under the Bloomberg Administration, the DOE tried to find ways to cut special education costs and while Chapter 683 money was relatively safe, there was one aborted attempt to change how Chapter 683 money could be spent.  Chancellor Joel Klein authorized Garth Harries to find cost savings and thankfully the opposition from parents, teachers, and school-based administrators were so fierce that he abandoned the idea and fled to Bridgeport Connecticut to become Chancellor.  Now it seems there is a rumor that Chapter 683 money may be in jeopardy and adding to the rumor is that the principals of District 75 have not been authorized to hire for the summer under Chapter 683.  Is this simply DOE incompetence or something more sinister?  Could the DOE be considering the elimination of the Chapter 683 program?  I certainly hope not.

If by some chance the DOE is considering the limiting or elimination of the Chapter 683 program, it would be their dumbest idea in quite a while.  These children are the most needy students in the NYC school system and taking away the Chapter 683 program is putting these helpless children at increased risk.  Let's hope I am wrong and the DOE's reluctance to post Chapter 683 positions for the 2013 summer school is simply a lack of competence on their part.and not part of their"children last" policy.

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