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More answers to your teacher layoff questions: when, who, how

A week ago, I posted a Q&A about teacher layoffs and many readers left comments with more questions. Last time the questions were invented (or overheard on the subway). This time they’re from you.

My chapter leader told me layoff notices will go out on June 4. Is that true?
Not necessarily. While the union and the Department of Education discussed that date as a possibility, it depended on principals receiving their budgets by today. That has not happened — when principals logged into their internal budget system this morning they were greeted with an announcement saying their new budgets had been delayed. It didn’t say until when, so layoff notices could come out days or weeks from now.

If I lose my job, will I be placed in another school?
There are two ways of losing your job. If you are excessed, it means your school can no longer afford to keep you on staff, but you are still a public school employee and you remain on the city’s payroll while you look for a new teaching position in the system. If you are laid off, you’ve lost your job in every sense.

Teachers who are excessed will not be placed into vacancies at other schools. They will find new jobs by applying through the open market system, going through an interview process, and being selected by a principal. Under the open market system, no one can be forced to take a certain job or be “bumped” out of her current job.

There’s a potential problem though: the open market system could fail. Principals could refuse to hire from the pool of excessed teachers. Last summer, when the city required most principals to hire all but their science and special education teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve, many of them dragged out the hiring process until the last minute in hopes the rules would change. Some found ways around the hiring freeze.

If the open market system doesn’t work, city officials could use forced placement to fill vacancies. Excessed teachers would be placed in schools based on their seniority, with the most senior teacher getting the first open spot in his license area. If a teacher’s last job was at an elementary or middle school, he’ll be placed into vacancies in the district he came from.

Another option would be for the city it have its contract negotiation wish come true: the excess teacher pool would be drained by laying off people who’ve been unable to find a job for a year.

How will layoffs affect guidance counselors?
Guidance counselors will be affected the same way teachers will be. City officials will count out how many counselors to lay off based on their projections of how many counselors principals will excess. In some cases, officials could predict that the loss of a school’s only guidance counselor would hurt graduation rates too much, and leave that job intact. In other cases, they could decide guidance counselors are expendable.

I’m a high school math teacher finishing my third year. My file number has been in the system longer than that because I spent a year as a substitute. Can anyone shed some light on my chances of surviving the budget cuts?
Your chance of not being laid off is as good as any other third year math teacher’s. Having an older file number doesn’t increase your seniority in the position you currently hold.