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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


DECEMBER 28, 2010
In Boston, a special fund established in 1968 pays for teachers’ funeral expenses, hearing aids and a softball league as well as legal services that have nothing to do with classroom instruction.

In the last school year alone, Boston taxpayers shelled out $1.3 million from the trust to help teachers with wills, bankruptcy, real estate, name changes, and legal defense against some misdemeanor criminal charges, according to the Boston Globe. This year taxpayers will contribute $8.4 million to the teachers’ trust, even as the district faces an anticipated $63 million budget gap that is necessitating the closure or consolidation of 18 schools, the Globe reports.

This unnecessary expense is ludicrous considering the current economy, and is urging city leaders to eliminate the trust as they craft a new collective bargaining agreement with teachers. The city’s residents, struggling to cover the rising costs of their own health coverage, shouldn’t be required to subsidize these extra perks for public school teachers.

Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, said it best when he told the Globe that “It’s time to rethink health and welfare and treat teachers exactly as other employees in terms of benefits, and eliminate the expenditures for these other services. “It really ought to be an item on the list in terms of trying to negotiate changes,” he said.

The Boston Teachers Union has predictably defended the fund, negotiated in 1968 as an alternative way to compensate teachers. “It came in lieu of salary,” BTU President Richard Stutman told the Globe.

Unfortunately times have changed, and Boston taxpayers can no longer afford to shower their public school employees with millions of dollars in special perks each year. Private sector workers in virtually every industry have sacrificed to keep their employers afloat, and we see no reason why Boston teachers shouldn’t be required to do the same.

We suspect that the vast majority of Boston taxpayers do not view a softball league or private real estate advice for teachers as a critical expense necessary to educate the city’s school children. With an expected $63 million budget gap, the district should be eliminating every expense that it can to maintain student programs and avoid cuts that would impact academics.

The fact that the BTU continues its lame attempt to justify the existence of this enormous annual expense only further demonstrates that its true priorities have little to do with educating the city’s youth.

Source: Big Government


NYC Teacher Gets Paid for Sitting Around~13 years in ‘Rubber Room’ with full pay

Related article:

Disgraced Teacher Enjoys Well-Paid 13th Year in ‘Rubber Room’ After Sexually Molesting 6th Grade Student

The Post reports that in the intervening years, the Department of Education dropped disciplinary actions against Pierre “on a technicality” but he remains in the rubber room until he is reassigned.  Though he was eligible for retirement at 62, Pierre continues to collect his full teaching salary.

At his age, he’d be able to collect a full pension and is eligible to collect Social Security, making his post-retirement annual income as high as $125,000.

Another teacher accused of serious wrongdoing — including impregnating a 16-year-old student and allegedly molesting a string of other girls — finally retired this month after spending seven years in his own “rubber room”:
For seven years, math teacher Francisco Olivares, 61, did nothing but rake in his $94,154 salary.
The DOE bungled a chance to boot Olivares in 1978 after he impregnated a 16-year-old former student at IS 61 in Corona. He skirted rape charges by marrying the teen; their baby was born less than nine months later.
Still in the classroom, he was criminally charged a decade later with showing one 12-year-old girl porn, photographing her with pants down and rubbing up against another 12-year-old girl. His conviction was reversed on technicalities.
Now retired, Olivares collects a cushy pension of $62,000 a year.

In April, the United Federation of Teachers announced that New York City’s controversial “rubber rooms” would be gone by the year’s end.  The city called the news a “breakthrough.”

“Starting this September, you’ll be happy to know that rubber rooms will be a thing of the past,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.  “To say that this is a big deal is probably an understatement.”

But as the above cases make clear, so-called “rubber rooms” are still alive and well.  Earlier this month, the New York Times noted that the unions’ pledge had gone unfulfilled:
While hundreds of teachers have had their cases resolved, for many of those still waiting, the definition of “work” has turned out to be a loose one. Some are now doing basic tasks, like light filing, paper-clipping, tracking down student information on a computer or using 25-foot tape measures to determine the dimensions of entire school buildings. Others sit without work in unadorned cubicles or at out-of-the-way conference tables.

“They told me to sit in a little chair in a corner and never get up and walk around,” said Hal Lanse, a $100,000-a-year teacher from Queens who had been accused of sexual harassment. He was assigned to an administrative office on Fordham Road in the Bronx in September as part of a deal that led the city to drop the charges against him.

One day he plopped down on a couch in the hallway and began reading a novel, he said. Eventually, he dozed off. Then he was asked to “paper-clip some papers” and refused: he was charged with insubordination. He is now collecting his full salary at home in Queens, with plans to retire in January; the city is trying to fire him for insubordination before then, which would reduce his pension.

“There are indeed still rubber rooms,” he said. “They just don’t call them that.”
Source: The Blaze

Related link: Washington Post

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