Sunday, February 04, 2018
Will There Be Another ATR Buyout? Yes, No, Maybe.
Now that we are in the second semester of the 2017-18 school year and yet another ATR incentive has been a failure. The latest published data showed that only 41 ATRs were placed in vacancies, out of 1,202 at the start of the school year. While a few more may have landed permanent positions since December, the percentage of ATRs being offered a vacancy is in the single percentages. The question is with the previous failures of the ATR incentives and the inadequate buyout packages, will the DOE propose another ATR buyout at the end of the school year?
Over the decade, the ATR pool has slowly been drained, from 2,400 at it's peak in 2008 to 1,200 this school year. This draining is due to two primary reasons. The first was that few schools actually closed in the last four years under Mayor Bill de Blasio and second, the average age and experience in the ATR pool is in their 50's and with eighteen years of experience. This places them near retirement age and experience, especially the 25/55 option that many applied for. Therefore, over the years many ATRs retired and few were replaced in the pool. This allowed the DOE and UFT to falsely claim that they were making progress in reducing the ATR pool. The truth is far different.
Sure two ATR buyouts resulted in approximately 220 ATRs who took the bait but almost all of the ATRs were retiring anyway! The only way to really drain the ATR pool would be to eliminate Fair Student Funding and take staff salary considerations out of the hands of the principals. Better, yet bring back the hiring policy that was in existence for decades that gave excessed teachers first dibs on vacancies and allowed for bumping of untenured teachers.
Back to any potential ATR buyout. There could be one since the ATR pool is expected to swell with the closing of 14 schools and the merging of five other schools. Moreover, two large high schools will be sending a significant number of teachers into the ATR pool as they are forced to reapply for their jobs. The last thing the DOE and UFT want is an increase in the ATR pool. A buyout might help eliminate any increase in the ATR pool.
On the other hand, there might not be an ATR buyout since the two previous buyouts failed to significantly reduce the ATR pool. Furthermore, both organizations will not count ATRs in provisional positions as ATRs, even that they will be back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year.
Maybe, if a new contract is hammered out by the end of the school year, a new ATR buyout might be included in it, or maybe not. Only time will tell.