Some Hartford Teachers Still Don't Have Classroom Homes
October 23, 2008
More than two months into the school year, a handful of veteran teachers still have no home, according to the president of the teachers' union.
The educators mighthave a base school, Hartford Federation of Teachers President Andrea Johnson said, but they are "floating" from classroom to classroom, being used as tutors or paraprofessionals while waiting for classrooms of their own. At the same time, Johnson said, more than 100 new teachers have been hired.
The union filed grievances with the board of education this past summer on behalf of teachers on the "to be placed" list.
"I'm worried about the kids," Johnson said. "I'm worried they're going to have a new teacher come into their life in October sometime. You've gotten used to that teacher. That's hard for the kids. They've gotten used to a class."
School district spokesman David Medina declined to comment on the grievances or the "to be placed" list, saying the district does not comment on "pending litigation." Citing the district's policy not to comment on grievances, Medina also would not clarify if there are more teachers than classrooms.
Under a Freedom of Information request, The Courant this week obtained copies of the grievances, which were filed in June and July. The first complaint requested that all teachers on the "to be placed" list receive positions before the end of June.
At last count early last week, Johnson said there were still about five teachers waiting for placements. On Wednesday, the union's first vice president, Joshua Hall, said changing enrollment numbers resulted in combined classes in some schools and may have increased the number of teachers without placements. Hall said he didn't have an updated number.
The grievances did not indicate where the teachers were currently working, and Johnson declined to elaborate, saying she wanted to protect the teachers' identities.
The "floaters" are one result of districtwide changes in city schools, Johnson said. This year, several underperforming schools were closed and reopened as new schools. Teachers had to reapply for their jobs.
At first, about 175 tenured teachers were not placed in classrooms right away, as principals picked through lists for teachers they wanted, Johnson said. At the end of summer, that number dwindled as more teachers were placed.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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