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Before possible layoffs, city begins to tally its teachers

With 4,100 teacher layoffs written into Mayor Bloomberg’s final budget for next year, Department of Education officials are beginning the task of counting their teachers. First, they are freezing the system.

In an email sent to a Manhattan principal today, the school’s network leader announced that the city is freezing all “personnel transactions” immediately. This means that any requests from schools to change a teacher’s seniority history or license area cannot go through. A teacher’s license cannot be switched from art to a science, for example, even if that designation is incorrect.

A spokeswoman for the department said the change allows the DOE to determine the exact size of its labor force and how many teachers are working in each subject area. The freeze will not prevent teachers from transferring from one school to another.

The department does not have a date set for when it will release updated projections of how many teachers each school could close to layoffs. In February, it sent out a list of how many teachers each school would lose, but that list is no longer accurate.

The email from a network leader to a principal:

“Based on the release of the Executive Budget and the potential for staff reductions, the Chancellor has directed that a freeze be implemented on all personnel transactions effective immediately, including requests for license changes and changes to service history affecting seniority. No such requests should be submitted given he need to clearly assess current system information as staff reductions are considered. Please communicate this to information to principals as soon as possible. This notification is also being sent to Network Staff and Superintendents by the Division of Assessment and School Performance.”

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