SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Monday, November 12, 2018

UFT President Mulgrew Gets $8,250 in US Open Tickets for Free

Dang. Our venerable UFT Presidenté Mike Mulgrew was in the Post yesterday. It seems that he has accepted...
...two tickets worth a total of $1,250 in 2012, and two tickets worth $1,300 in 2013. In 2014, he received $2,700 in tickets. In 2015 and 2016, he got tickets worth $1,500 each year.
That's a total of (Hang on The Crack Team is crunching the numbers.) $8,250. Who did he get these tickets from? According to the New York Post these tickets were obtained through.
a that firm represents the UFT and other city unions in litigation. In 2017, it collected $2.9 million in legal fees from the UFT...Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, the firm that collected $15.5 million in fees from the UFT in that time.

Yes, I get it. The UFT needs a law firm to do whatever it does. Virginia LoPreto, while probably less costly, can't do everything herself. I also understand that a business wishes to reward clients and throws them tickets. My dad had a business for years, and he would get tickets for his clients as well. It's the price of doing business.

But running a union, especially the UFT where time and time again it's leaders come across as tone deaf to the masses this is bad optics. James Eterno as quoted on the Post article as saying...
“It doesn’t pass the smell test. Your average teacher isn’t getting these kinds of perks — and nor should our union leaders.”
No, it doesn't James. Yes, Mulgrew can do this, but should he? That is the bigger question.

Just as out to lunch is Stoock partner Charles Moerdler who said he was unaware of the ticket exchange and went on to say...
“We have season tickets to a whole variety of sporting events, and we give them to clients who ask for them.”
So Uncle Mike asked for US Open tickets? Why? I used to the men's finals every year when  when I was a kid. I had to sit through a 5 1/2 hour match between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in 1980 (I think).

Sorry Norm, no raffle for winter coats. Technically, myself and every single UFT member are clients of Stroock. I am putting my request for tickets to Mr Moerdler. Other UFT members should do the same. Let's see if he comes through.

In order of preference this is my wish list I will present (I will accept two tickets please.).

Super Bowl LIII (I will find my own way to Atlanta.)

Opening Night (Can you believe? Game is scheduled at 6:35!) for Yankees April 1. If game is moved to the afternoon please disregard. And no substituting with Opening Day Mets tickets. I only watch Major League baseball. 

Giants vs Cowboys last game of 2018 and possible Eli's last game as a Giant. 

Any home Rangers game or a Devil's game. 

The 2020 US Open (golf) at Winged Foot. Final round. Mickelson might finally atone for his 2006 disaster.

2019 Masters.

Knicks or Nets home game. 

Islanders, only at the Coliseum. 

Oh, if Rush somehow starts touring again, Rush moves to top of the line.

If Mr Moerdler is kind enough to give me four tickets, I will take two UFT along with myself and my son. Beers on me. 

With Janus looming over the UFT and all public sector unions like the sword of Damocles the optics of our union leaders must improve.



Saturday, November 10, 2018

The NYCDOE Has Stolen Retro Monies From Me and Other Teachers

I've Been laying low. Having to deal with Dr Evil and Mini-Me.

So, what's new? Tell you what's new from me. The DOE stole money from me, and it seems others as well. Not once but twice.

My son had saved up money to buy a car over the last six months. I promised him that I would kick in some cash towards the purchase but it would have to wait until the retro came in. When it came in, it was a real kick to the groin...





RESTR SETTL PR is probably "restructured settlement". But what is the PR?

Yeah, I am out $727.33. Why? A bit of a backstory first. I was under suspension when my the retro was dispersed. Last year when I got my first retro almost everyone else was getting there second retro check. As I was told, the checks are divided by 1/8, 1/7, and so on, or something like that. Anyway, the amount I received last year was equivalent to if it had been my second (Like everyone else) retro check. The amount I was blessed with this year is equivalent to what I would receive (which should have been my first) in 2015, which would have been less than last year's check. Therefore, last year I received more than I should have. So due to some bookkeeping method I am out over seven hundred dollars.

But if I received in the proper ordinal order...1st, 2nd, and so on, I never should have been out these monies. But looking at it with my non-mathematician mind, shouldn't the checks have the same total amount in whatever order they were dispersed? This seems like it is straight out of Abbott and Costello.

And guess what? I am not the only one this has happened to! I have heard from many teachers that feel that they have been robbed and want their money back. Like now!

My question is how do I, or those in the same predicament as I know that the numbers, or rather, the math is correct with what we are owed? Or for that matter what anyone is owed? Why has there not been something on the payroll portal a clear and concise accounting for each teacher, how much total money they are owed and the amount of each year's payout? This would solve so many problems and help teachers to plan accordingly.

Though the UFT has been quite helpful to me and has been on top of it, I've been cautioned that though I might get the seven hundred dollars back there is a chance that I might have it again deducted down the road.

That is why I filed a payroll grievance and hopefully I will not only get my money back but if and when it goes to arbitration it can be ruled that there will be no further deductions. Not to mention the hope, there will be accountability on the decision and the logic behind why I lost this money but a full accounting on how my retro is decided.

Fortunately, my son has a car. But not to soon after we had purchased the car, we learned that he needs a passenger side axle along with an inner tied rod.

The parts won't cost me much. I delivered auto parts during my suspension and can by the parts at the same price the garages pay (The mark up is obscene!). As for the labor, I know some good street mechanics in the Bronx and have a garage in White Plains that'll do the job for $200 (Gustavo's on Ferris Ave in White Plains---Shameless plug!).

"Not to worry," I told my son, "this can be fixed for on November 1 I shall be receiving yet another blessing from the DOE, my retro per session check."

"Oh blessed be Mayor de Blasio and Mike Mulgrew," my son said whilst smiling.

November 1 came. So did November 2. November 3. November 4. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing.

For some reason my per session retro is "not showing in the system." Why did this happen? No one knows. However, there is good news. I have been added to the list "of people who need to be paid." Let's see here. The definition of people is...
plural : human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest
The main takeaway from this definition is that people is plural. So ipso facto many a person (meaning many people) has yet to receive their retro per session.

I even called per session pay roll on Thursday. Iouldn't get an answer. What a surprise.

This is really from the files of "You Can't Make This Shit Up!" I'm out over $800. I am sure there are those that are worse off. But there is no transparency. No communication. No nothing.  

But UFT members have been in the dark since 2014 when this contract was ratified and we were told it will take until 2020 (And myself and others in 2021) to be made financially whole again. I want my money.  Maybe I will have it in time for Hanukkah. In 2020. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

BREAKING!! The ATRs and the New Contract!!!

Today was exciting. There is a new contract agreed upon between the UFT and the
NYCDOE. Yippee! We all got the emails today from Uncle Mike Mulgrew which was more or less highlights which barely touched on details.

But right now I just want to touch on the part of the contract that will pertain to ATRs.

First, I want to dispel the rumor that I have read first hand that ATRs will be disbanded, not by layoffs, but rather than placing ATRs in schools. Like forced placements. That is not happening.

As James Eterno and Arthur Goldstein mentioned, the date that ATRs are placed in openings in the license area has been moved from October 15 to day one of the school year. This makes sense. Does no one any good to start in October.

But there is more.

The Crack Team has learned through sources within the UFT that schools won't be penalized financially anymore for hiring an ATR with a high salary. For instance: Say a school has all first year teachers and 22 year ATR is hired. Ordinarily that ATRs salary would raise the average of the school's teachers salaries. Now, that ATR, that expensive ATR's salary will be seen as on par (Haven't a clue how this is being worked out) with the 1st year teachers salaries. That teacher making $119k won't skew the schools budget. Again, the devil is in the details.

Something else that is new is a new program that will hire ATRs into a program called 4x4. ATRs will be hired into schools (This will start of as a pilot program) in which ATRs will work with small groups of students in group literacy intervention. You won't need a reading license to do this. The curriculum will be scripted out and the cost borne by the DOE. In my opinion this is a long time coming. I have always wondered why ATRs are forced to do menial sub work when they could be better used to target in need students either individually or in small groups. But as usual, the devil is in the details.

But we don't have the details and neither will the DA tomorrow night until after a vote. Why the UFT couldn't wait until Monday to have the DA ratify the contract boggles the mind. Shabbas candles are lit tomorrow at 6:02 PM. It would be safe to assume that some CL's and delegates are Observant Jews.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

MORE Misses Yet Another Easy Target

You know what is easy? Standing on a pitchers mound and having just get the ball to home plate 60 feet, 6 inches away. I'm 54 and a lefty. Dang I can do it! Heck, my son was able to do it at the age of 8!

MORE is turning into the Ba Ba Booey (Gary Dell'abate) of UFT caucuses by completely fucking something that easy up.

Instead of fighting for ATRs, work rules, working conditions, getting rid of the lawyers that permeate the DOE, fair student funding, teacher safety, teacher happiness, or any other of the myriad of other wants and needs we have going forward as we approach a new contract next year. MORE has decided to do the opposite. Or as one member has said...
"Dwindling health care benefits in exchange for a raise that will not help us meet the rate of inflation in NYC is a major problem for us."
This is the priority.


Yes, there are things I do not like. I do not like paying $50 to go to an urgent care center when the alternative is to see my GP when I have a cold or need to get in last minute. That is unless I go to Advantage Care Physicians which there is a $0 copay. The only issue I have is that there are 0 ACP offices in Westchester County. It does me no good.


I don't care for the $150 copay for the ER. Yes, I know it is waived if admitted, but not all ER visits necessitate being admitted.

I am not happy that first year teachers will have to spend their first year in HIP. But,most of these teachers will be young and healthy and do not need the care that the more mature teacher desires. Besides, I'm sure a goodly amount of the MORE people are young or living still on mommy and daddy's insurance 

I have no problem if my copays go up another $5. I really don't care. I have had a life without insurance. My right shoulder is a mess because I did not have insurance when I dislocated it. A dear friend of mine is dead because he did not have insurance.


What I do like is that I am paying $0 a month for GHI. That my wife has about $200k of hardware in her back, spent a week in Lenox Hill Hospital and two weeks in BurkeRehab Hospital and we only owe about $200.


I'm grateful for the hernia surgery I had last month was $0. I'm grateful that when my son broke his hand and needed surgery 5 years ago that the only cost was driving to NYU.

But again, another problem with MORE is they just can't or refuse to roll up the sleeves and see the world around them. In others words, REALITY. They think we have it bad.


Well The Crack Team did roll up it's sleeves and wishes to share a major dose of reality on the kiddies at MORE about health coverage across the country. These are true stories from real teachers.

I pay a little more than $450 a month for my daughter and me and ewe each have a $3000 deductible with a $5600 out of pocket maximum per year. We live in Idaho.

$1200/month for family coverage. $15 copay for doctor visits. In NJ, our healthcare contribution is based on our salaries so if you make more, you pay more for the same coverage. That jackass Christie came up with that. Prick. Can't live on my take home anymore.

For Chicago Public schools I pay about $18 a month for insurance, put in about $100 a month to an HSA w/ $600 contributed by CPS for the year, w/ a $2000 deductible. The insurance helps negotiate prices but basically doesn't pay anything until the deductible is met.

$350 a month premium, matched by the state (HI teacher), so $700 a month in premiums, $20 copay for everything, extra for lab work, TONS of other fees. They wanted $700 for an MRI that traumatized me to the core of my being and am refusing to pay.

I am paying $1400+ per month for coverage for a family of three. I would cheerfully choke someone out to pay $600 per month.

Albuquerque Public Schools, high option plan for family of 4 - approx $650/month, plus co-pays and percentage cost-sharing (which seem to get higher all the time!) $25-$40 co-pays for appts, $50 Urgent Care,  $150 ER, percentage of everything else.

I'm a public school teacher in the state of Rhode Island and I pay almost $400 a month for a single healthcare plan. I have different deductibles to meet for different things but just for regular doctors I have to meet $250 and then my co-pays Kickin, to go to a walk-in clinic it's now $100 and to see your primary care it's $25. I am ashamed that our state does this. Good for you and your school district not charging the teachers are ridiculous amount for health care. Best of luck on the rest of your school year.

In Michigan (law change in 2012) we now are required to pay 20% of the cost of premium.  A high deductible ($2700) with HSA account costs $270 a month for full family.  Same policy with coinsurance (%20 after deductible) costs $140 month for full family.  We formed a county consortium to pool policy members and help reduce the costs.  Before the consortium, we were paying $320 a month for the full family high deductible policy; which was our only option.

We do not use our district insurance because the premium is $1265 per month for our family of 4. Yes you read that right. Nevada has the worst insurance coverage in the nation for teachers.

$104 a month for the least expensive choice through my district, which includes my husband and two kids, dental and vision.  $7000 deductible, $10 doctor, $25 specialist, $52 urgent care, $75 ER
(unless admitted, then there is no co-pay). 


It's time for MORE to stop sniffing its own farts and get a reality check not only concerning the rank and file but life as well. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The ATR Wah Wah

I've been listening to a lot of George Harrison's solo work of late. I was a big McCartney/Wings fan back in
the day and never thought John Lennon had done much with his solo work. I bought Harrison's "Somewhere in England" back in 1981 because it contained the tribute song to John Lennon "All Those Years Ago."

But his song, "Wah Wah" from "All Things Must Pass" is really hitting home of late. For those who are unaware of this song...
...Harrison wrote the song following his temporary departure from the Beatles in January 1969, during the troubled Get Back sessions that resulted in their Let It Be album and film. The lyrics reflect his frustration with the atmosphere in the group at that time... In his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison explains that the song title was a reference to "a 'headache'
Yeah, I am having a special fucking ATR headache. And it ain't happening from the students. The illogic in the banality and inanity of this fucking ATR shit is giving me a damn wah wah!!!! But I refuse to cave. I refuse to not do what I have to do to get through each day, each week, each month, each school year.

We, all of us, ATRs have that ATR wah wah. Don't cave, don't give them what they want. Stay strong, you can do it!

Wah-wah
You've  They've given me a wah-wah
And I'm thinking of you me
And all the things that we I used to do
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Wah-wah
You made me such a big star an ATR
Being there at the right wrong time
Cheaper than a dime
Wah-wah, you've they've given me your my
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Oh, you don't won't  see me crying
Oh, you don't might hear me sighing

Wah-wah
I don't need no but I have a wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free, wah-wah
I don't need no but I have a  wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Hey baby, you don't hear me sighing
Oh, no, no, no, no

Wah-wah
Now I don't need no wah-wahs
And I know how sweet life can be is
If I keep myself free in spite of wah-wah
I don't need no but still I have a wah-wah



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Timmy the ATR Widget

Meet Timmy. Tim says hi. Timmy is an ATR. Tim has been an ATR for some time now.
Timmy always puts his best face forward when arriving to a new school and always bent over backwards for the school community. Timmy, while he doesn't love being an ATR, wants to do what's best for the kids. The students in the schools where Timmy has been have liked him.

Timmy has a masters degree in Educational Widgets. Timmy at one time had been a widget staff developer as well as a widget coordinator in his school. Timmy knows his widgets. Timmy has been to many a school where the widgets are not being integrated with the curriculum. Timmy's widget knowledge would, in theory, be beneficial to whatever school he is in.

Over the summer there was a posting for a widget staff developer working out of the Widget Department at Central. Timmy was excited. Timmy read the requirements and while he did not have some, he had most. This position would be perfect for Timmy.

Timmy wrote a great cover letter and spruced up his resumé. He emailed it in by the deadline. All Tim wanted was an interview. Nothing more or nothing less. Timmy didn't want anything handed to him.

Timmy knew getting the position would be a long shot. But Timmy was thinking. Central is already paying his salary. Wouldn't Central rather pay Tim's salary having Timmy contributing and doing something that would benefit the students if not all of mankind?

It's been almost a month, and Timmy hasn't heard back. Timmy doubts he will get the position let alone be interviewed. Timmy is stoic. Timmy will not give up on getting a permanent position.

Poor Timmy.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The UFT Hides While Teacher Aida Sehic Suffers Alone

Here we go again.

In yesterday's Post there is a story about an ATR, who escaped war in Bosnia only to walk into another one within the NYCDOE.

This, according to the Post, is some of what happened to Aida Sehic...
"...rampaging pupils broke her nose with a bag of metal rulers, stabbed her with a mechanical pencil, demanded sex acts, trashed her classroom and hurled epithets at her including “white bitch.’’
Of course, guess whose fault this was? The system? The DOE? The schools in which she taught? The administrators? The students? The students parents? Nah.

It was, of course, the teacher herself. Heck, Aida even tried to take the high road in attempting to appeal to one student's mother only to have the student retort back...
“...When my mother comes in tomorrow, she’ll deck you,”
Aida reached out to anyone and everyone she could. The DOE, NYPD, and the UFT. She got nowhere other than being brought up on 3020-a charges in 2016 for incompetence.

Isn't it possible, that the constant threat to one's physical well being, the constant fear for one's safety, just might have an affect on one's pedagogy?

Aida was excessed in 2011. She has been teaching since 1999. Three schools, IS 218 in the Bronx, MS 322 in Manhattan (School site and Inside Schools), IS 143 (Which was closed for poor performance according to Inside Schools) in the Bronx were the schools where she was abused.

Anyway, Aida was lucky. I guess. She kept her job. She was fined, $7,500. But she could have lost her life at any moment and left her two children without a mom. As one colleague shared with me who had been through something very similar to what Aida had been through...
"Wait until a teacher is killed. It's coming, people."
I don't think so. I hope not! But sadly, if it did happen, I would not be surprised.

But something is bothering me more. I am not upset at the lack of any action by the DOE or the NYPD.What I'm upset about and sadly not surprised at all is the lack of any action by the UFT. 

Why would the UFT ignore this teacher's desperate pleas for help? Where was an action team from the UFT when Aida needed one? Where were her chapter leaders? District leaders? 

This story was in in yesterday's Post. It was on the Post's website Tuesday night. Today is Thursday, September 13.Where is a statement, a communique, and email to the rank and file in support of Aida and calling for outrage against the DOE for the way her situation was handled? Something. Anything?

But I'm able to get a robocall last night at 7 PM from the UFT imploring me to vote for Cuomo and his crew. And then, guess what? I got another robocall this afternoon (As did many other teachers) again requesting that I sell my soul for Cuomo. WTF????

The UFT has time for this inane electioneering for Cuomo but doesn't have the inclination nor the time to have a teacher's back? What the F*** gives? If Aida were a cop, Patrick Lynch (as much as I think he is a turd) would be front and center having her back!!

But not our union. Not the union we no longer have to pay $100 a month to (even though I will).

Well, Aida has filed a federal lawsuit. Good for her. Even better, she has hired Bryan Glass as her attorney. She can't go wrong there. She is damn good hands. Get some fuck you money from the DOE.

We, each and every teacher, must fight back in a united method against the UFT.