Monday, May 08, 2017

UFT Executive Board May 8, 2017

Secretary Howard Schoor welcomes us. We have three schools who wish to present. Will expand time to allow members to speak.

 HS of Applied Communication.

Frank Greco, ELA, introduces other teachers, Title one school, IA Principal Michael Weinstein, three student sit-ins, one walk out, PTA meetings canceled monthly, teacher received LIF for publicizing SLT meeting, two teachers have Art. 23 harassment complaints, two special ed. complaints, retaliation, Teacher student programs changed three times, one class has had 7 teachers, IEP classes 50% special ed., constant harassment of students without parental consent, peoples followed and watched—

Programmer had to redo entire program in retaliation, 40 observations for speaker.

Asks for visit from Mulgrew, asks leadership to speak for membership, asks for public pressure, review of all internal memos and observations, facilitation of PTA meeting at neutral locale, article in NY Teacher.

Christine Daly, social worker, Weinstein third principal. Change is not easy. Kept hoping it would get better, but hasn’t. Witnessed harassment of colleagues, following them around, waiting outside classrooms, following students, telling teachers to do so. Stated it was all political to make people happy. Can’t go to union rep because she reports directly to him. We need support. Our school was place to help students. Now adults abuse power and go after teachers with long record of helping students. Principal thinks teachers put students up to protesting. He covers windows and interrogates students.

Tells me students need help, things going on in homes but kids know what’s going on. We teach them to talk about their rights and he targets theses students. I let it go at first. School was my safe place. Not anymore. Thank God for my colleagues. Took a lot because I’m terrified Mr. Weinstein will now target me. Please help.

Schoor—Someone will come. CPE 1 here

Casey Keefe—special ed. teacher and parent at CPE 1. Teacher for 16 years first year here. Representing self, newly hired teachers who do not support save CPE 1. Says we are misrepresented, they want Garg replaced. They feel under attack. These teachers have said because she hired her we are complicit. Because of their assumptions they have created hostile work environment in which we are asked to choose sides. We were not conferred with when they wrote email. They have honored our request not to send it.

Claim core value is teachers working collaboratively. Same group who drafted letter sat in silence during PD. We want to move forward as team. They say they will talk when Garg is not present. We have been trying to set up meeting. They insist we meet outside school so union leader can be included. We don’t want to meet outside because of parent hostility to Garg. We support Garg. Professional supportive and resilient considering campaign to remove her. We hope you will support us as you support our colleagues. We do not agree with agenda or tactics of Save CPE 1. We don’t want people to hate principal because friends tell them to. We are doing our jobs and following Garg leadership. Veteran teachers do not want us there. CPE 1 belongs to all families not select few.
Franco Scardino, CL Townsend Harris—Here to share good news—together our chapter, with much support, was successful in replacing IA principal. Wants to put in context—she wasn’t appointed, and had to do C30, which we leveraged as best we could. Didn’t know full story about Bronx Science, but it was quite alarming. Like to think that people can change, saw opportunity.

Franco Scardino, CL Townsend Harris—Here to share good news—together our chapter, with much support, was successful in replacing IA principal. Wants to put in context—she wasn’t appointed, and had to do C30, which we leveraged as best we could. Didn’t know full story about Bronx Science, but it was quite alarming. Like to think that people can change, saw opportunity.

By October we knew she had no use for me, or union.  Had never been in situation. Thanks DR  James Vasquez for guidance and reassurance. Principal also wanted to bring anyone she wished onto consultative committee in December. Rona Freiser and Vasquez advised them to walk out if she brought people. We asked APs to leave, she wouldn’t let it happen, and we left. That was December 1st. On the 8th, when C-30 happened, we also had PPO. We also had Janella Hinds there and unannounced student protest. Students had taken over 4th floor. 300 kids, all programmed for lunch—no one cut class. 

Brian Sweeney
—Townsend Harris--Advisor for school newspaper—From December 8th—my students have not been censored for 30 years. Was expressly hired as advisor, not censor. I watched livestream. 30K people watched. I was terrified. Would’ve been easy for me to tell them to calm down. Instead we just respected their First Amendment rights. Thanks everyone. 

Schoor thanks Rona Freiser. Said he told DOE this is one of jewels of school system. They said they never did Google search on Jahoda. Was travesty to put her in there. Thanks them for steadfastness. Will be in UFT paper.


Exec Board by email—

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—I understand urgent matters that are time sensitive. Why didn’t this come to board?

Schoor—Sometimes we want to make sure it’s on record. No rationale or reason.

President’s Report
—Mulgrew not here.

Staff Director’s Report—LeRoy Barr—Thanks people who came to May Day rally, held flag. Last Saturday 5K run, Secretaries luncheon right here. May 11, speech and hearing month celebration. May 13 two events, Spring conference. Bronx UFT immigration clinic. Legal representation—if you know someone who needs it, send them, on Monday immigration forum here. Juan Gonzalez moderating. Friday May 19 be brave against bullying conference here. May 23 Albert Shanker scholarship awards. Giving 1 million from dues. Next Exec. Board May 22.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—Folks from HS Applied Com—current principal my former APO. We had several incidents with him in consultations. Never had to file grievance because principal clamped down. Same supe Townsend Harris has. We know Mona and James are doing great work but what can we all do from Goldstein HS to assist? Seems like pattern of odd hiring under Elaine Lindsay.

—Make list of his behavior. We will be involved. Not guaranteeing resolution

KJ Ahluwalia—New Action—Seems to be trend of teachers coming in with problems. Why can’t UFT be proactive in vetting principals before they wreak havoc?

Schoor—met with borough reps. President blames superintendents. We will look at them. Problem is admin doesn’t want to go to school and be bosses.

LeRoy Barr—Boroughs have been proactive, particularly with Harris. Queens office has been engaged. Had many reps at various schools. We’ve been proactive, question is what else we can do. Congratulates and thanks UFT staff that has engaged. We will continue.

Jonathan Halabi
New Action—hearing that we’re not doing very well with our grievances. Step one and two. Thought they would go better with new admin.

Ellen Procida—Grievance Dept—Are doing better at some grievances. Resolving many more at arbitration. Have been pushing back. Many cases that are ridiculous we get arbitration date back

Arthur Goldstein
MORE—Thanks paperwork committee. Classes in my school and at least three others covered by our arbitrator’s ruling have been oversized since September. At first, we were told, via a “plan of action,” by a previous arbitrator our members could have one day off from C6 assignments. I thought that was nonsense and placed an op-ed about it in the Daily News. On March 28th, a new arbitrator ruled our schools were to come into compliance, or creating new classes to do so if necessary. I liked that plan of action and informed my members they were to get relief as per the arbitrator’s order.

I was then told there would be something called a “compliance call,” something mentioned nowhere in the UFT Contract. For at least three weeks I’ve been hearing it would happen this week. It’s another week now and we’re still waiting. If the call happens this week, and I have no reason to believe it will, my members will get five weeks of contractual compliance before Regents exams.

I understand we have a committee somewhere that does something, and I’ve been to meetings related to that committee where we’ve discussed how we’d like to resolve things. Thus far, they have made no difference whatsoever.

My members count on the contract to find relief and they have an absolute right to it. They’ve been denied it for eight months. How are they going to get it, and what are we going to do to preclude nonsense like this in the future.

Ellen Procida—Grievance Dept—Conference call day after tomorrow. Board has five work days to come back. Not called compliance call. Based on work we did, because arbitrator said action plans would not be good forever, arbitrator made this ruling. We will be on this call. We believe your school will come into compliance and be warned for next year. Your school has been part of discussions to preclude this next year.

Keira Kursey—James Vasquez attended all meetings, has been proactive. Has communicated that CL and other members say there is space for new classes. Can’t promise what will happen. We will push for compliance for your school and others.

Marcus McArthurMORE--Mulgrew said UFT would file lawsuit for CPE 1. Please tell us about it.

Schoor—Marilyn Martinez—we filed suit on her behalf. DOE has sent her letter that she can go to any DOE meeting in school or elsewhere.

Martinez—in role of teacher or parent?

Schoor—Any meeting open to public. Will sign stipulation.

McArthurMORE--What is DOE response to popular pressure and documented grievances?

Schoor—Mayor commented on Friday—asked from picket line—not necessarily on side of removing Garg. Mayor is in charge.

Barr—Have been to school, heard me say there are many sides but DOE has responsibility to resolve it. Mulgrew is ratcheting up. Said we have problem there are targeted teachers, with parents, and comments becoming more intense. If they don’t respond, intensity will increase. Will be more than comments. Trying to get them to resolve all issues for benefit of kids. In this case, real losers are kids. They have responsibility to resolve all.

Schoor—In contact with parents, satisfied with our statement. First job is to protect members.

McArthurMORE--Do we look at attack on CPE 1 in connection with other issues, LaGuardia, my school had issues, we had supe that didn’t understand model, attacked curricular and instructional model of democratic governance. Are we having a dialogue about how they can better understand progressive schools before they destroy model.

Schoor—supes are focus. When principals do bad things, supes are bosses. They aren’t taking care of problems. More paperwork issues from Queens HS, and they have to look at pattern.

Reports from districts—Rich Mantel—5K run, great event, good weather, 200 people. James Vasquez kids first and second kids category, raised few thousand dollars

Janella Hinds—April 28 schools honored, including Townsend Harris, great evening with Christine Quinn as keynote. April 29 prom boutique, will be another May 25. May 2, safe talk with health and safety dept., suicide prevention.

Ellen Dreisen, DR 20—May 1 day of democracy. Immigrant families kept kids home. Population had dropped to 70%, teachers held day of democracy instead this year, community invited in, city councilperson came. Presentation about keeping children safe. Lawyers and paralegals did intake for people with immigration questions. 40 people waited. Will follow up.

Mona Gonzalez—Secretary luncheon—two special awards given. Thanks everyone, especially Howie who came in Mulgrew’s absence. Did fabulous job.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—NYC schools most segregated—Group has worked to help, held events, my school having exchange with Bronx School. 20 students will visit one another to see differences between schools and focus on integration. Will be forum with students.

Anthony Harmon—Hosted 5th annual parent leadership academy, will come next three Saturdays and learn to advocate. UFT LGBT committee revitalized, two new co-chairs Rashad Brown and Rosemarie Thompson. Next meeting May 19. Brooklyn UFT had meeting to dispel myths about groups. June 2,3, First Book mobile will distribute 40K books. Will follow up in Manhattan. 333 e 4th st, June 9, 10. Thanks people for Mayday rally.

Legislative report—Paul Egan not hereLiz Perez will report.

Budget season with city council. Asking for teacher choice, positive learning collaborative, dial a teacher, 60K calls a year in nine languages. Funding for anti-bullying. Hosting city council legislative breakfast May 18 to discuss. Visiting them in offices.

Endorsements—mostly incumbents—carries.

UFT financial report
—Says we are in great shape. Thanks Charlie Baker and accountants. Says we are financially fine. We have unqualified opinion, best you can get. Pg 3 is assets. Receivables over 24 million, with two month dues delay. Real estate,,,book value what we bought building for..not actual value, now much higher.

Liabilities—primarily accounts payable, dues payable that we owe AFT and NYSUT..we pay when we receive…two month delay. M and T bank, refi, interest rates lower. Took capital out to deal with programs in buildings. New roof. Next door, we want to rent property. 247 dollars square foot. Have to build out space. Brought in Molloy College for 4th floor.

Pension liability—We do for profit and not for profit union—have to call out need for every staff person pension issues—Our UFT Pension plan 108% funded.

Member dues major source of income, grants also. We transfer money to NYSUT and AFT, payroll expenses—small net loss last year of 175K. We had travel expenses for AFT and NYSUT conventions.

Speaks of supplemental schedules—payroll up 10%, retro, raises and grant staff. Will get back in grants. Health and welfare up 600K. Legal fees down when we don’t deal with contract. Communications and contributions up.

Administrative expenses—bid out anticipation Friedrichs/ Janus. Almost the same.

Jonathan HalabiNew Action—What about COPE?

COPE is odd, not in this report, COPE money sent to NYSUT. They gather all the money, send to AFT. They give money back to NYSUT and NYSUT gives back to us. NYSUT covers state races. We only see money that comes back, we call it income, and then we have legislative expenses.

Mike SchirtzerMORE—What’s worst case scenario with Janus?

Worst is no one pays dues. There are working committees, we are looking at what we can cut. Rational concept is 20% reduction. Looked at meetings, conferences, nothing being spared. Fewer workshops. Will do training here instead of hotel. Will cut 16 million if we have to. Must prepare for anything. That’s why I made sure building is rented. That’s 3 million income.

We are adjourned.
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