Sunday, May 31, 2015

This Illogical Crap Can Not in Any Way, Shape, Form, or Matter Ever Be Created in Someone's Mind. It's Ridiculous!!

On May 6, 2015 I shared on these pages about my arbitration hearing of May 5, 2015 battling the city
over $76.12 owed me by the DOE.

Some quick background. September 3, 2013, the first day back, was the day I was served 3020-a papers. I had already sat though about 2 hours and 15 minutes of PD that day when I was summoned to the office. There waiting for me was a process server and two of the biggest and meanest looking school safety agents I had ever seen.

I was barely allowed to get my stuff, speak to my colleague who had given me a ride, and was shown the door rather quickly. I was in shock and embarrassed.

As explained on May 6, I never made it down to the Rubber Room Intake Center on Chambers St for various reasons. But no matter what, I was in the school and working for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The DOE argued that I am not entitled to the pay of being at my school for that time because I failed to go to my next assignment. They feel that since I did not go, I do not get paid for anything.

The UFT argued that the DOE's argument was nowhere to be found in the contract and they cited Articles 3, 6, 20 and Appendix A of the contract.

Under testimony for the DOE it was shared that if I had only called the school I would have been given money for the subway. Wonder why that wasn't shared during the Step II hearing over a year ago.

But no matter what, it was never denied that I was in the building participating in PD and was there for about 2 1/2 hours. With that as a fact and being able to cite the contract we all thought it was quite winnable.

It wasn't. We lost.

The arbitrator found my story so fantastical that he denied me my $76.12. He said that since I had a cell phone I could have called someone. Yes, as reported before my ride has yet to enter the 21st Century and did not have mobile technology as of 2015 and the only other person I could have called (My wife) was 25 miles away without a car. Heck, the arbitrator never even asked me why I hadn't called anyone.

This was a non-precedent setting hearing. The DOE spent more money defending this than it would have cost to pay me the money. Heck, I would have even accepted a ticket for the then upcoming Who concert at the Nassau Coliseum.

I really wish I had the ability to make this stuff up. I just can't.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Animal House Comes to MS 72 in Queens

A sorority has grown at MS 72 in Jamaica, Queens. The mean girls are in control and the un-mean girls on on the outside looking in.

Principal Omotayo Cineus has seemingly split the school in two. Those who belong to the correct sorority and those that never have been sorority sisters.

With the school shrinking due to the growth of co-located Redwood Middle School choices needed to be made. Who to keep and who to let go. Obviously, this can be done honestly and easily by following the UFT contract of last in, first out. But what is one to do when the principal and the last in are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha and veteran teachers stand in their way?

You juke the data. Teachers who have been at MS 72 for decades have suddenly been rated ineffective or developing. You deny teachers who have yet to be tenured time after time after time after time and then you rate them developing or ineffective.

Some of the targeted teachers are special ed teachers dealing with the most challenging students. But is this not what one wants when dealing with such students? Yet it is too easy to find fault, especially if you are not a Kappa.

But what does Principal Cineus say about this? To the non-tenured teachers who are about to be discontinued she tells them, our colleagues, teachers with families, bills, health concerns, that hey she'll swear she fought for these teachers with the superintendent but someone screwed up, the tenure papers were lost!

How can something that had never been submitted been lost?

Cineus, according to our sources at MS 72 went out of her way to hire Kappas. Faculty meetings seemed more like rush week or a toga party with inside jokes, secret sayings, and perhaps the odd handshake. As of press time no reports about any pledge pins.

Cineus and her untenured newbie sorority sisters went to meetings and conventions together and made a show of it all when they got back to work.

The Crack Team curious, asked if there was any hazing happening at MS 72. According to sources there was none, but several commented that denying tenure to the deserved and giving it to Kappas could be seen as hazing.

The teachers at MS 72, you all are up against Doug Neidermeyer, Greg Marmalard, and their leader, Dean Wormer. You all are Delta House. You need a Bluto moment. Hang in there!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

BREAKING NEWS!! My 3020-a Decision Arrived

The decision is in!

I kept my job.

I have a 4 month suspension.

I have yet to read the decision. Will read it by tomorrow.

Details to follow.

Court date in Manhattan Supreme Court this Wednesday morning.

Thank you to all those that have supported me throughout this long and arduous process.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

There Is No Way, No How That This Story About the NYCDOE Can Be Made Up. Where is the Logic?

There is just no way this story can be made up. First some background. 

On September 3, 2013 I entered my school on time at 8:10 AM  thinking that I was about to begin my 11th year there. I knew it was to be a long day. Going through PD, the usual getting to know you stuff and the fact that I had dreaded being there at the very least until 3:25 PM if not the year.

It was already a crappy day. My wife needed the car so I got a ride in from a colleague and to make matters worse I had left my wallet on my bedside table. I wasn't too concerned for my carpool colleague had said he would spot me some money at lunch time.

At about 10:15 AM about 15 minutes before a break from the PD I was summoned to come to the main office. There waiting for me was a process server to serve me my 3020-a papers along with 2 of the biggest school safety officers I had ever seen. I had to immediately leave the school.

Unfortunately my stuff was still in the library. I needed to retrieve my stuff. The school safety officers escorted me not just to the library but into the library where all my colleagues had to witness my humiliation and embarrassment.

I collected my stuff and left with feeling even more shame that I had when I had walked in. Through the halls and out the doors the shadow of the two big school safety officers had never left me.

I was supposed to report to 49-51 Chambers St which is the intake location of those that have been rubberized. However, there was one issue. In the meshugas that was ensconcing me I had forgot to ask super special permission to the two big school safety officers to allow me to talk to my colleague and get that money he was to spot me. There was also no way to get hold of him for he does not possess the 21st century technology of a cell phone.

The way I was treated along with the shame and humiliation I felt I didn't dare call the school to ask to speak to him. Being how I was just treated I felt that that they would not let me speak to my ride if I called nor would they get him the message in a timely manner. What was I to do?

With $2 to my name there was no way I could have gotten on the train to go downtown. So I bounded over to the McDonald's across the street and ordered a coffee, and much more coffee. Luckily someone I knew worked there and I was afforded a bottomless cup of McD's best Colombian blend. Along with my trusty book that I had the hours went very quick waiting until 3:25 came so I can meet my colleague in the parking lot of the projects.

Now it gets weird.

Several paychecks later I am short $250 because that day was counted as an unauthorized absence. How could it be an absence if I had been there for 2 1/2 hours?

I immediately called the Bronx UFT and filed a payroll grievance. I was told it can take several months for the hearing and I had nothing to do but time. So I waited. And waited.

About a year ago I had my payroll grievance meeting. The person from the Bronx UFT told me before the meeting that the best she can argue for is to be paid for the hours I was in the building and working. Fine. I understood.

In the hearing both sides of the story were given. I gave mine, they theirs. They did not dispute that I was in the building for 150 minutes! It ended I was told to wait for a decision.

And boy did I wait. Through the rest of the spring, through the summer, through the beginning of this school year when I finally decided to call the payroll person at the Bronx UFT. She told me that the person we argued before (I forget his name) awarded me the pay for the 150 minutes I was at the school. OK, I was good with that and was told that he would be a few paychecks before I got the money.

I then waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more.

In March I received a letter in the mail from the grievance department at UFT HQ informing me since no decision had been made I get to go to expedited arbitration on May 5--yesterday.

The gentleman from the UFT I spoke with told me that my pay for the 150 minutes came to $76.12 but would I be willing to settle for less. I told him no. He informed me to forget getting the $250 back and I agreed with him. But I was curious as to why the DOE is going through all this trouble for $76.12 when this was to be a hearing which would not set any precedents.

When I arrived yesterday at the American Arbitration Association at 120 Broadway in Manhattan my rep told me the DOE still refuses to settle and we had no choice but to go forward to collect my $76.12.

In the conference room was the arbitrator, my rep along with another from the UFT and a lawyer from the DOE. My rep gave a statement and cited the contract. The DOE lawyer cited that since I did not continue on to my next assignment I can not get paid for the entire day. The one question I was asked by the DOE lawyer was why I did not call to ask for money to get downtown. Yes, in my humiliation I was thinking straight. Besides, what would allow me to think of my school would be so benevolent towards me after what had just happened?

I still can't believe that the DOE would spend all this money to keep from coughing up $76.12! How much did that lawyer cost? What was the DOE's share of the arbitration? How much time away from serious matters did the lawyer have to spend? Transportation? Taking time away from a real arbitration case that needed to be heard?

The DOE has a budget of $23.8 billion. The $76.12 is a mere fart in the wind to the DOE. This is an agency that wastes millions upon millions of dollars a year and they can't put a crowbar in their wallets and give me what I earned? I was at the point laughing it was so pathetic and even told the UFT rep I would accept 1 ticket to see The Who at the Nassau Coliseum in two weeks.

I will know what happens 10 school days from yesterday and if I win I have to wait 8-11 weeksto receive my $76.12.

And we all wonder why.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Senator George Latimer Gets It

We here at SBSB have met with Senator George Latimer several times. We can honestly and proudly believe that not only is the good senator a friend of The Crack Team but families and educators statewide as well.

Senator Latimer gets it. He gets how frustrated the parents are. He gets how frustrated the teachers are. He gets how frustrated this state is. We believe he understands that the the Opt-Out movement was not a protest but rather a rebellion.

Watch these two videos. One, was on the Senate floor before the budget vote and the other is an interview he did in Albany on Time-Warner Cable News.

A couple of takeaways on his budget speech:

Senator Latimer compares the rolling out of constant new evaluations and testing and what not to New Coke

Says we are down this path becuase of the power of the all mighty $$$$.

Tax caps and unfunded mandates have hurt.

Believes the perception that public education is failing is faulty.

We need to fix where the problems are and poverty is the main culprit.

Anyway see for yourself.

From the video with TWC one thing that really hit home is how the senator again hit the nail on the head with poverty but knows that poverty is just not limited to urban areas. There are rural parts of this state that are just as poverty stricken as the inner city. The Crack Team has asked in the past where are the hedge fund managers pushing charters in rural New York?

Click here for the TWC interview.

We as teachers, as parents, as communities need to start building and cultivating strong personal bonds with state legislators such as Senator Latimer. Senator Latimer truly stands on the right side of history (Unlike others who talk a big game then wimp out) in this educational farce being put upon us by clowns in Albany.

Senator Latimer is running for re-election in 2016. Rest assured The Crack Team will be supporting and voting for him.

Come 2018, we hope Senator Latimer will consider running for Governor.