By JENNIFER MEDINA
Published: September 17, 2009
With more than 1,500 existing teachers on the city’s payroll without permanent job placements, the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, has told principals that if they do not fill those jobs by the end of next month, they will lose any money they had allocated for their teacher vacancies.
Principals across the city have resisted hiring teachers from the so-called absent reserve pool, in which teachers are placed if they lose their posts when a school is shut down or forced to shrink its teaching staff because of budget cuts or declining enrollments.
Though the pool has shrunk to about 1,500 teachers, from 1,983 about three weeks ago, it would still cost the department roughly $127 million this year. By forcing principals to fill the remaining 1,050 vacancies in the system from the existing pool, education officials expect to save about $75 million.
In a letter sent to principals this week, Mr. Klein called the pool a “fiscal liability we cannot sustain.”
“Nobody dislikes this situation more than I do,” Mr. Klein wrote to the principals. “Limiting your hiring freedom goes against what I stand for, but because of the economic reality, we must control costs and protect our schools from deeper budget cuts.”
The letter was first reported by InsideSchools.org, a Web site that covers New York City education issues. Mr. Klein has lifted the hiring restrictions in some subjects, like special education and science, and several principals have said they received waivers to hire new teachers in math and bilingual education.
The Education Department is continuing to hold job fairs over the next several weeks and requiring those teachers in the pool to attend the fairs.
Ernest Logan, the president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, said in a statement that the council was pleased that the human resources department was “stepping up to the plate” with the job fairs, but sounded a note of caution. “We would like to know more about what the Department of Education will do if appropriate licensing matches are not made or if excessed teachers fail to show up at the recruitment fairs,” he said.