A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
DOE bars SI tech teacher from bringing computer equipment to rubber room
By YOAV GONEN, Education Reporter
Last Updated:1:59 PM, October 9, 2012
Posted:1:25 PM, October 9, 2012
They pulled his plug.
The Department of Education is barring a teacher who has been live-streaming his painfully boring and costly work days assigned to a “Rubber Room” from bringing any computer equipment into his holding pen.
IS 49 teacher Francesco Portelos ramped up his battle with the DOE last week by letting viewers watch him essentially do nothing for hours on end in an Ozone Park conference room - using a livestream program on a tablet with a videocamera.
The 33-year-old tech teacher was yanked from the classroom in April after administrators at his Staten Island school accused him of a host of misconduct - which he claims was in retaliation for whistle-blowing - but he’s continued to earn his $75,000 salary sitting idly in a Queens office ever since.
“I’m told not to bring any computer equipment into the reassignment facility - so I guess that’s it. Stay tuned,” Portelos said on a 1 minute and 20 second clip he posted online today in lieu of the livestream.
He said officials finally gave him some work -- to create lesson plans in science -- a task he welcomed but still viewed as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“I’m an educator. I need to be back in the classroom and not in a conference room doing lesson plans,” he said.
DOE officials hinted late last week that they intended to end Portelos’ short-lived livestream fame while he awaits the outcome of probes by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation.
“We are taking action to address this situation,” a DOE spokeswoman said Friday.
Earlier this year Portelos accused an administrator at IS 49 of double-dipping by collecting overtime from the city while getting paid by an outside agency for after-school work.
He’s among 218 educators awaiting investigations or disciplinary hearings who are reassigned to what officials characterize as administrative duty.
Yet many of the reassigned staffers say they’re not given any work and are still being placed into holding pens akin to the “Rubber Rooms” that were supposedly abolished in 2010.