This week Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein and the United Federation of Teachers have finally agreed on terms that would end the $30 million teacher detention center more commonly referred to as the “Rubber Room”. The administration and the union have called this an agreeable solution for scrapping a system both sides have described publicly as in complete disarray.
Details of the agreement include the reassignment of teachers accused of minor infractions to administrative tasks inside or outside the school; however, more serious ramifications are reserved for cases that involve suspicion of sexual abuse or financial misconduct. The City hopes new procedures agreed to by both parties will assist with the phasing out of existing cases by the end of this calendar year.
Some highlights of the agreement include:
- No new educators assigned to the ‘Rubber room” after September
- Number of arbitrators up to 39 from 23 and will hear 7 instead of 5 cases a month
- Completion of the review process will be drastically reduced from 18 months to about 6 months
- A hearing must start 15 days after the accusation is first made and the proceedings cannot drag on beyond 60 days
While this is not expected to save much money because of the extra personnel that will need to be hired for meeting the demands of a stricter time line, education officials hope that some funds can be recaptured by keeping more teachers who are on the Department of Education’s payroll in the classroom instead of in trial limbo.
Click here to read an article by UFT President Michael Mulgrew on this landmark decision.