There are widespread rumors circulating through the schools that the next contract will include an ATR time limit as the major “giveback” in the next contract. It appears the rumors originated from school Administrators who heard it from clueless DOE administrators at the local Children First Networks. Fortunately, it is only “wishful thinking” as the ATR time limit is one of the three areas where the union refuses to negotiate with the Bloomberg/Klein Administration on. The other two being seniority during layoffs and tenure protections. While it is true that the Bloomberg/Klein Administration has proposed an ATR time limit in their contract proposals to PERB. It is highly unlikely that the PERB Arbitrators will include it in any tentative contract without the approval of the union. Remember, the teacher’s contract is the last one subject to the old “City pattern” and if the union shows intestinal fortitude, PERB will have little choice to agree with the union that the “City pattern” be followed, with some massaging along the margins. For the Bloomberg Administration not to accede to the “City pattern” puts the City at risk to be slammed in the next contract by the woefully underpaid police who’s union then can claim that the City abandon the “City pattern” and they should be paid a salary consistent with the surrounding communities. This would have a negative effect on the City finances as all the uniformed services have a “me too clause” and would cost the Bloomberg Administration millions more than anticipated.
Presently, the union has shown no indication of weakening on the ATR time limit and I don’t expect them to. Especially since in Chicago the opposition faction won the election because of the union agreeing to a 18 month ATR time limit that resulted in quite a number of teachers being removed from payroll, many due to age and salary. Furthermore, the ATR crises was the sole creation of Chancellor Joel Klein who (with Randi Weingarten’s agreement} eliminated the excessing requirements that required a district to hire excessed teachers before new teachers could be hired in a subject area. Finally, the history of Chancellor Joel Klein’s DOE is to come to an agreement with the union only to either renege or ignore the parts of the agreement that Tweed does not like or find inconvenient. To believe they will suddenly change their way of thinking is beyond belief.
The economic and financial pressures on the DOE and the increasing transparency on how the DOE spends its money will force Tweed to pressure the Principals to hire the ATRs and for our union to acquiesce to an ATR time limit would be like “snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory”.
As long as our union stays strong, the ATRs will eventually find themselves in the classroom and teaching the children they care about.
ps. If you are an ATR and want to know how the expiring ATR agreement with Tweed affects you. Under Assault provided the following information.
ATR AGREEMENT TO EXPIRE, BUT NOT ALL OF IT
There was some talk in here about what happens when the ATR agreement ends, but payment arrangements for the ATR salaries will continue. The Nov.2008 side agreement:
12: This agreement will expire on December 1, 2010 although paragraphs 4, 5 & 6 will continue to apply to hiring done on or prior to that date, according to the specific terms set forth above.
4 . When a centrally-funded ATR is hired to fill a regular position in a school (other than the school from which the ATR was excessed), on or after November 1st of the calendar year in which they were excessed, central DOE will pay the difference between the actual salary of the teacher and a starting teacher salary, and then, in subsequent years, will continue to pay the difference between the actual salary and the subsequent steps on the salary scale (for example, in year 2, the difference between actual salary and step 2A on the salary scale). This subsidy will terminate once the excessed employee has been in the position 8 years.
5. Until November 15, 2010 a school that hires a centrally-funded ATR to fill a regular position (other than a school from which the ATR was excessed) on or after November 1st of the calendar year in which they were excessed, in addition to being charged in accordance with ¶4 above, central DOE will credit the hiring school's budget one-half of the starting teacher salary that would otherwise be paid by the school under 4 above.
6. After November 1, principals can offer to hire centrally-funded ATRs for the balance of the school year on a provisional basis whereby ATRs accepting this offer can be excessed, regardless of seniority, at the end of the school year in which they are hired, or can opt to be placed in excess again at that time. If the ATR is not excessed again at the end of the school year, and does not opt to be placed in excess at that time, the ATR will become a regularly-appointed pedagogue at the school. The subsidies provided for in ¶4 & ¶5 above will not apply to ATRs hired provisionally pursuant to this paragraph, but will apply should such an ATR become a regularly-appointed pedagogue at the school.