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Saturday, June 3, 2017

The UFT/DOE Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) Agreement 2017 and Buyout

Think about this for a minute: there are new agreements for ATRs ironed out by the UFT and DOE without representation by an ATR chapter leader. Why? ATRs have no Chapter!!! Right there you should begin to worry.

Don't jump out of your chair and run to the nearest office to sign up for the severance package or buyout. Read everything first, then decide it is right for you.

You should base your thinking on your status, such as do you have any "ineffectives"? Do you have a field supervisor biting at your heel?

If anything like that or  any other random bad-thing-without-reason has happened to you, I would do the buyout and leave the Department. Once the "I'm never wrong" DOE puts their target on your back they can be relentless and it is not fun. It is downright insulting, harassing, and dangerous  to your health. They obviously want newbies who cost less and are much easier to get rid of than tenured teachers/ATRs. But as you know, tenure has little value in NYC right now.

Nonetheless, consider all options for you, including whether or not you will get another job quickly or at all. If you are re-assigned, and/or charged with 3020-a, you have been placed on the "no-hire" problem code, and your fingerprints are flagged.

Stuff like the problem code must be reviewed and considered. Don't do anything in haste, and six months from now or a year from now realize you made the wrong choice.

Think think think. The great philosopher Winnie the Pooh always does.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

2017 ATR Agreement
Whereas both the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (the "DOE") and the United Federation of Teachers ("UFT”) have expressed a joint interest in reducing the number of UFT represented employees who are or become ATRs; and

Whereas both parties agree that section 16 of the 2014 MOA (set forth in Article 17, Rule 11 A of the Teacher's contract and other corresponding provisions of the other collective bargaining agreements between the DOE and the UFT) has expired;

Now, therefore, the terms and conditions governing ATRs as set forth in the 2007-2009 collective bargaining agreements and memoranda of agreement entered into prior to the May 1,2014 MOA govern, with the modifications set forth below:

For purposes of this agreement, ATRs shall be defined as all UFT represented school based titles in excess after the first day of school except paraprofessionals, nurses and occupational and physical therapists.
I. Severance Program
The DOE will offer a voluntary severance benefit to all ATRs who have been in the ATR pool for one or more school years as of May 31, 2017, who volunteer to resign/retire and who execute an appropriate release in a form prescribed by the DOE in consultation with the UFT, except those ATRs who have agreed in writing to resign/retire from the DOE in connection with the disciplinary process (the "Severance Program"). (Employees with charges pending are eligible for the Severance Program.)
The period during which ATRs may volunteer to resign/retire in accordance with the terms of the Severance Program shall commence on June 5, 2017 and terminate at 5 PM on July 14,2017. The effective date of separation from service shall also be no later than July 14,2017.
Eligible ATRs who volunteer for this Severance Program shall receive, at the employee's option, a severance payment of either:
1.     $50,000 in a lump sum non pensionable payment to be made within 60 days following the end of the severance period or,
2.     $35,000 in a lump sum non pensionable payment to be made within 60 days following the end of the severance program plus six months of health coverage for the employee including coverage for dependents, spouses and/or domestic partners.
For purposes of determining eligibility for the Severance Program only, time spent as a provisional hire or in a provisional assignment shall constitute time as an ATR. Employees who meet the above criteria who are provisionally hired or provisionally assigned at the time this Severance Program is offered are also eligible for the Severance Program.

In the event that an ATR who participates in the Severance Program returns to service with the DOE, the ATR shall repay the severance payment received, through payroll deductions in equal amounts, within six months of the ATR’s return to service. This provision shall not apply to ATRs who return to service as day to day substitute teachers or on a part-time ("F status") basis.
II. Assignment of ATRs
After October 15, ATRs will be given a temporary provisional assignment to a school with a vacancy in their license area where available. The DOE, at its sole discretion, may choose not to assign an ATR to a temporary provisional assignment who have been penalized (as a result of a finding of guilt or by stipulation) in conjunction with §3020-a charges based on the circumstances of each case.
The DOE shall not be required to send more than one (1) ATR at a time to a school per vacancy for a temporary provisional assignment. These assignments will first be made within district and then within borough. ATRs shall also be given temporary provisional assignments to cover leaves and long term absences within their license area within district and then within borough. ATRs in Districts 75 and 79 shall be given temporary provisional assignments only in the same borough, within their respective district, as the school to which they were previously assigned.
All temporary provisional assignments for an ATR in BASIS will be within the same borough as the school to which they were previously assigned.

ATRs serving in a K-12 or 7-12 license pursuant to the agreement between the DOE and the UFT dated August 25, 2016 (e.g., ATRs serving in Physical Education K-12, English Secondary, Mathematics Secondary, Social Studies Secondary, English as a Second Language, and Foreign Language) will not be sent to schools with vacancies or to leaves or long term absences outside of the division (i.e., Elementary, Middle, High School) which they were assigned prior to entering the ATR pool.

It is understood that at any time after a temporary provisional assignment is made, a principal can request the removal of the ATR from this assignment and the ATR can be returned to the ATR pool and be subject to the terms and conditions of employment then applicable to ATRs pursuant to this Agreement.

To the extent that the provisions above conflict with the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement dated June 27, 2011, the ATR agreement dated Sept 6,2012 and any provision of Article 17, Rule 11 B of the Teacher's contract and other corresponding provisions or other current collective bargaining agreements between the DOE and UFT, the provisions above shall govern.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew
Here is the ATR Buyout:
Dear member,
Exercising a contractual right, we have been trying to negotiate another voluntary severance package for members in the Absent Teacher Reserve for the past few years. We are happy to announce that we were able to secure one.
The UFT and the Department of Education have negotiated an agreement for those in the Absent Teacher Reserve that includes a severance package with two options.
In the 2014 Absent Teacher Reserve agreement, the severance package was based on length of service. This time, eligible Absent Teacher Reserve members, including those provisionally hired, who agree to retire or resign from June 5 through July 14 may choose to receive either $50,000 in a one-time payment or $35,000 and six months of health insurance. This money is not pensionable.
To be eligible for the severance package, you must officially have been an Absent Teacher Reserve member on or before June 1, 2016 through today. You have received this letter because you were an Absent Teacher Reserve member in September 2016 and may be affected by this agreement.
Starting in the 2017-18 school year, the agreement also permits the DOE to provisionally assign Absent Teacher Reserve members to a school throughout their borough, which is a change that allows for more flexibility. Since the 2014 agreement expired at the end of the 2015-16 school year, we have been operating this past school year under rules that existed prior to the 2014 agreement.
You should be hearing from the DOE about what to do if you wish to accept the severance package. Use this online form if you have any questions about this settlement.
If you are considering retirement as a result of this agreement, it’s important that you contact a UFT pension consultant in your UFT borough office. Visit the pension section of the UFT website for borough office phone numbers and more information about the pension services the UFT offers.
Michael Mulgrew
UFT President
Friday, June 02, 2017
The ATR Buyout Incentive Is Inadequate And Insulting.

Once again our disconnected union leadership secretly negotiated an ATR buyout incentive, without any ATR input. While the complete ATR agreement has not been published, UFT President, Michael Mulgrew's letter to ATRs has given us the general details of the ATR buyout. The buyout incentive is short on money and is not pensionable. That alone makes the ATR buyout incentive inadequate.

According to the UFT, ATRs who accept the buyout and retire or resign, have two options. Option 1 is to receive a lump sum of $50,000 or option 2 is to receive $35,000 and get six months of health benefits. However, if the ATR resigns to take the ATR buyout, they will no longer be eligible to receive the four lump sum payments of their retro money owed from 2009-10 and the 2% raise owed to them next June.that would cut deeply into the money received in the ATR buyout.

The major problem with the ATR buyout incentive is that the money is less than a half a year's salary for a 20 year teacher. Moreover, teachers who want to participate in NYSUT's attractive Catastrophic Major Medical (CMM) plan would not be able to since you must be an active member as of January 1, 2018 and the ATR buyout incentive is only for the time period between June 5 to July 14, 2017. Finally, many ATRs who are retiring at the end of the school year may have already put in their retirement papers and may not be eligible for the ATR buyout incentive since, according to Mulgrew's letter, they must submit their retirement papers between June 5 and July 14.

Based upon the failure of the previous ATR buyout in 2014 that saw just 8.5% of the ATRs take the incentive, I suspect that the DOE will be fortunate if 10% take the inadequate and insulting buyout. Honestly, I cannot see an ATR willing to resign for the buyout, maybe a few ATR retirees who haven't already put in their retirement papers might take advantage of the buyout but not many.

By the way, if you're an ATR assigned to a District, the new ATR agreement for the 2017-18 allows the DOE to place you in any District in your Borough. Another loss for the ATRs. Then again, our disconnected union leadership doesn't have to worry about what school they will be "forced placed" in.



There are times when a school reduces the size of its faculty, such as when it experiences an unexpected drop in student enrollment, loses a budget line or pursuant to state or federal law, is being closed, or phased out. Excessing is the process of reducing staff in a particular school when the number of available positions in a title or license area in that school is lower than the number of people in the school who require an assignment in that title or license area. It usually occurs in June in preparation for the next school year or in January in preparation for the next term. According to the UFT/DOE contract, you must be informed in writing by June 15 if you will be in excess for the next school year, but it is still possible to be excessed after that date due to changes in enrollment or the budget.
When a teacher is notified that she is in excess, she must register on the Open Market System for purposes of providing updated contact information. She will also have access to a list of current vacancies throughout the city and the right to apply to any or all of them in her license area.
When one or more vacancies occur in a district in a license area, the DOE must send excessed teachers (who registered on the Open Market System) to the school to be considered for placement. If the principal accepts a placement, the teacher becomes part of that school. If the principal denies the placement, the teacher will be an ATR in her district or superintendancy.
The DOE after Oct. 15 is obligated to send an ATR to any school in the district, then borough with a vacancy in the teacher’s license area. If there aren’t any vacancies in the teacher’s home district, the DOE can send the teacher to a school with a vacancy in the teacher’s license area in the same borough. The principal retains the discretion to keep the teacher or return him or her to the ATR pool.
Excessed employees are considered ATRs.  ATRs may be sent to schools within their district, or schools within their borough that have vacancies in their license area.  ATRs cannot refuse these assignments.  Any ATR who refuses an assignment and does not report to the assignment witin two work days of receiving written notice of the assignment without good cause shall be treated as having voluntarily resigned his/her employment.
ATRs may also be sent on mandatory interviews.  ATRs must report to these interviews.  Any ATR who misses two interviews without good cause will be deemed as voluntarily resigned.